BY BRYAN NIEMAN
It’s a very interesting time to be in the premium pet food market. Despite this fast-paced evolution of technology and buying practices, we believe that the ideals established within the Fromm business more than 100 years ago resonate louder and truer today than ever before. Innovation drives manufacturing and independent pet retail drives business. This friendly coexistence is imperative in keeping tradition alive.
Innovation has been part of the Fromm DNA from the very beginning. Fromm developed the first canine and feline distemper shots and then pioneered the process of combining meats with grains to produce the first all-granular pet food. Five generations of the Fromm family have been at the vanguard of animal health and nutrition, and we’re proud to carry forward the tradition.
We kicked off 2019 with a bang when we introduced a new line of treats. Fromm Crunchy Os spent years in development, and even while we succeeded in delivering a truly entertaining crunch unlike anything else on the pet treat market, it necessitated that we develop a food manufacturing process that is exponentially more meticulous than traditional production. The result is an amazingly airy texture and fragrant palatability that makes the treat line so unique. A timely labor of love has paid off, and our retail partners have gotten behind Crunchy Os in a big way. More importantly though, pet owners have been responding with enthusiasm.
Going back to day one, Fromm has a long history in our commitment to selling exclusively to independent and neighborhood pet retailers while connecting with a community of animal experts. These retailers are built similarly and through years of hard work and dedication to animal well-being. They, too, have been the early adopters and thought leaders of premium nutrition and innovative products for pets. They help start trends, open shoppers’ minds to new options and new ways of thinking, support emerging brands and foster communities of shoppers passionately dedicated to their animals. These neighborhood experts are more important to our pets’ lives than ever before.
The rise of millennial pet owners – many of whom are without children and have larger disposable incomes – is becoming a vital and influential element of today’s pet food and supply market. According to APPA’s 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, Generation Y pet owners are now the largest generation segment of all pet types. These pet owners, while arguably more tech-savvy than previous generations, still seek authentic experiences and unique products for their pets. Their physical and digital paths to purchase are merging, and therefore the retailing solutions of the future will inevitably focus on the customer. There is no such thing as the typical online customer or the typical store customer.
In today’s retail climate, the intimate buying experience consumers receive when shopping local is essential. Neighborhood pet retailers have the opportunity to move the market by providing leadership to the industry, offering counsel to their customers, and by helping personalize the connection between manufacturers and shoppers. Without neighborhood and specialty pet, innovative and daring products would not receive an audience. Without a community expert to stock and share new products and build trust with new pet owners and visiting shoppers, manufacturers may no longer continue to blaze trails in the category of animal nutrition.
We like to think that success in the premium and pet specialty market is a busy two-way street in a familiar neighborhood where residents stop to chat with each other. We will stay committed to independent pet retailers and value their commitment to us. We will continue to innovate because it’s our company philosophy. Our customers and retailers deserve nothing less.