Stella & Chewy’s is a brand that promotes the value of raw in a dog’s diet. Stella & Chewy’s CMO Mark Sapir, who has worked in the pet industry since 2013, took the time to share his insights on the food and treat manufacturer’s philosophy.
Q What led to the formation of Stella & Chewy’s?
A Marie Moody met Chewy, a sweet, slightly destructive pup looking for his forever home. Marie and Chewy instantly fell for each other and there was nothing Marie wouldn’t do for Chewy. Soon after rescuing Chewy, Marie found out he was sick with distemper and began to prepare and feed him a raw diet. Chewy’s health quickly and dramatically improved and Marie was determined to bring raw food to the masses. Inspired by her own dogs, she has created a movement that has promoted the overall health and happiness of hundreds of thousands of pets and pet parents all over the world.
This led to Marie establishing Stella & Chewy’s in 2003, combining her passion for animals with her entrepreneurial spirit, and recognizing an underserved market within the large and growing pet food industry. Marie created a family of distinctive pet foods and named the company after her own two pets adopted from animal rescue shelters. Today, she is chairwoman of the board and still active in the business, which has become one of the fastest-growing privately-held companies in the nation and a true partner of the neighborhood pet channel.
Q How would you describe your company’s mission?
A Our mission is to provide the highest-quality, natural pet food available with an emphasis on nutrition, palatability, safety and convenience. We believe choosing the best food is the most important decision a pet parent can make for their pet. We do believe raw is the pinnacle of nutrition and ultimately intend to move pet parents into feeding raw, but more recently have made our brand more available by launching unique and special best-in-class nutritious options to bring in new pet parents and allow pets to thrive in total.
Q What sets your Raw Coated Kibble apart from the competition?
A Our kibble has the ultimate high-protein, low-carb diet with the power and taste of raw in every bite. The recipe contains 65 to 70 percent meat ingredients.
Unlike the other kibbles that extrude (using high pressure and extreme heat that cooks away important nutrients), at Stella & Chewy’s, we gently oven-bake our food one small batch at a time. Baking ensures a less processed food that is easily digestible, highly nutritious and great tasting.
We have two kibble options: Raw Coated Kibble and Raw Blend Kibble. Raw Coated Kibble uses simple recipes coated in raw goodness, while Raw Blend contains additional whole pieces of freeze-dried meat mixed in with the Raw Coated Baked Kibble.
The Raw Coated Kibble has seven offerings: Grass-Fed Beef, Grass-Fed Lamb, Cage-Free Chicken, Cage-Free Duck, Wild-Caught Whitefish, Cage-Free Chicken for Small Breeds and Cage-Free Chicken for Puppies.
The Raw Blend Kibble has four offerings: Grass-Fed Red Meat, Grass-Fed Red Meat for Small Breeds, Cage-Free Recipe and Free-Range Recipe.
Q Why and how do you support independent retailers?
A We are committed to supporting independent retailers as they were true partners in launching our brand over 15 years ago and have continued to support us and build our brand together. They are well-educated on nutrition and best understand the benefits of our diets and can educate pet parents. We are committed to independent retailers. Stella & Chewy’s is exclusive to independent pet retailers—we are not in the big-box retailers. And outside of freeze-dried, none of our products are available online. We are hopeful neighborhood pet specialty retailers can recommend our products confidently and know pet parents will go back into their stores for our products. We have recently launched a Red Door Retailer program that further extends our commitment to the neighborhood pet channel and the reaction has been very positive. We encourage retailers to learn more and hope they are excited to participate.
Q What can the pet industry expect from Stella & Chewy’s in 2019?
A New wet cat food: Reinvented new wet cat food with our 100 percent human-grade ingredients that is made in a USA human-grade kitchen. The wet cat food’s number one ingredient is real USDA-inspected muscle meat and number two ingredient is nutrient-rich, tasty bone broth. The wet cat food offers a complete and balanced diet for adult cats. The new wet cat food has four offerings: Cage-Free Turkey Morsels, Chicken & Salmon Morsels, Cage-Free Chicken Pâté and Cage-Free Turkey Pâté.
New Simply Stella’s Limited-Ingredient Diet: Introducing the first baked limited-ingredient diets coated in raw goodness for a taste that dogs will go wild for! Our new limited-ingredient diets are the perfect solution for dogs with food sensitivities. The new recipes keep it simple with easily digestible carbohydrates without any of the extra fillers or additives. The number one ingredient in each recipe is a responsibly sourced animal protein. We are launching three new offerings: Turkey, Lamb and Duck.
New Lil’ Bites: New mighty meals for small-breed dogs is high in protein for boosted raw nutrition. It has unique little bites, perfectly sized for small mouths. Limited-ingredient recipes with single-source animal protein options provide solutions for common small-breed food allergies. This is the best solution for picky small-breed dogs. The new Lil’ Bites has four offerings: Bitty Beef, Chicken Little, Dainty Duck and Little Lamb.