Tailoring treats to consumer needs is vital to a brand’s success.
It’s no surprise that treats are often the key to helping retailers stay out of the red. The typical dog owner is not walking out of a pet store without a bag of treats to spoil his or her fur baby. And the facts support this notion, as U.S. retail sales of pet treats was expected to hit $6.7 billion by the end of 2019, up from $6.5 billion in 2018, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.
One of the leaders in the pet food and treat sector, Stella & Chewy’s was founded in 2003 on the basis of providing the highest quality natural pet food with an emphasis on nutrition, palatability, safety and convenience. Molly Mulcahy, vice president of brand marketing, recently offered the brand’s view on how dog treats fit into Stella & Chewy’s past, present and future plans.
Why did Stella & Chewy’s decide to enter the treat market 2013?
Entering into the treat arena seemed like the natural next step in product development for Stella & Chewy’s. We uncovered a need from our pet parents of wanting a healthy treat for their dogs. We wanted to help our pet parents by being able to feed their dogs treats without having to make tradeoffs or sacrifices on healthy nutrition. Pet parents love to reward their furry friends, whether they are used for training or as an expression of love. Best-in-class nutrition is what is important to for pet parents, so why wouldn’t we extend our product portfolio into healthy and nutritious treats for their pets?
What has been the Stella & Chewy’s philosophy to treats that enables the company to be innovative while offering nutritious dog treats?
We simply listen to our customers and provide solutions to meet individual pet needs as these needs can vary. We are one of the leaders in the neighborhood pet market because we are able to offer healthy options that accommodate all stages of life, breed size, sensitivities and taste preferences. Our customers can feel confident in choices they make when choosing a nutritious treat for their loyal companions.
The pet food industry landscape is constantly growing and changing due to pet parents constantly seeking better for their pets. In fact, many human health and wellness trends are emerging in the pet food. As a company we stay true to our core values of providing best-in-class nutrition that is more palatable and convenient while taking these health and wellness trends into account. We are proud to provide a wide variety of options that are unique and special while always using pristine and responsibly sourced ingredients.
How are your brand’s treats part of a healthy diet?
As a company, we believe that any amount of raw in a pet’s diet will have a meaningful and positive impact. We are built on the philosophy that pets thrive when they are fed the same diet they would find in the wild. We go to great lengths to ensure that we only use quality ingredients that are thoughtfully and responsibly sourced. Our meats will be grass-fed, cage-free or wild-caught and will not contain any antibiotics, added hormones or ingredients from China. In addition, all of our fruits and veggies will be 100 percent organic. We have responsibly expanded our brand beyond our raw to make our products more available, yet always delivering premium nutrition, palatability, safety and convenience—our treats are no exception.
All of our treats are proudly crafted in our USA kitchens, and we utilize a food safety process that is designed to make our foods safe from harmful bacteria naturally, while retaining the food’s nutrient value and flavor. This commitment assures the best quality products and highest levels of food safety.
Our various treat options allow pet parents to reward their dogs every day with zero guilt or fear of feeding a treat with unhealthy ingredients or fillers. We only use the good stuff to make our pure and nutritious dog treats. We offer three different categories of 100 percent freeze-dried raw treats for dogs, including Carnivore Crunch, Wild Weenies and Single Ingredient Treats. These treats offer the same great benefits of a raw diet.
For example, the Carnivore Crunch treats are 98 percent meat, organs and ground bone giving them an irresistible taste and raw food nutrition that dogs naturally crave. Each Carnivore Crunch treat is a perfect bite size with less than three calories per nugget! Carnivore Crunch is a great high-reward training treat and also a healthy option for pet parents that worry about calorie content for their pups but still want to reward them with a treat. Don’t let the name fool you; our Carnivore Crunch treats are one of the softest treat options.
Then in the past two years, we have expanded our treat line even more with offering Biscuits, Wild Weenies and Single Ingredient treats.
We have expanded beyond 100 percent freeze-dried raw treats to include our Raw Coated Biscuits for those that would like to add a little extra crunch to their pup’s treat routine. Our Raw Coated Biscuits are gently oven baked with love in small batches and include meat, organs and bone. Meat is always the No. 1 ingredient. Each biscuit is coated in our irresistible freeze-dried raw and truly mirrors a whole prey diet.
Why do you think Wild Weenies is the brand’s best-selling treat?
What isn’t there to love about a cute play on words and the signature weenie shape? Dogs really do go wild for these treats! Our Wild Weenies are all natural, 100 percent freeze-dried raw, made with 97 percent muscle meat and nutrient-rich organ meat. Just like our other treat and diet options, the meats will be grass-fed or cage-free and will not contain any antibiotics or added hormones. These are perfect for training and treating and they are easily broken into smaller pieces. The Wild Weenies have become so popular that we created a larger 11.5-ounce bag for our chicken and beef recipes.
What is the brand’s latest entry in the treat market?
Last year we introduced our Single-Ingredient Treats to our treat selection. These come in a variety of tasty options: Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Lamb Liver, Lamb Heart, Chicken Breast and Chicken Heart. All of these Single-Ingredient Treats will be just that, one simple ingredient and one source of protein. Each treat is made of 100 percent meat or organ meat with no added ingredients or fillers as they are simply freeze-dried raw.
We recognize that many pet parents struggle with food sensitivities or allergies with their pets and this is a perfect, worry-free solution. With so many protein options there is a treat option that can work for just about any pet with allergies or sensitivities. These treats are packed with protein and again, great to use as a high-value training treat. Our Single-Ingredient Treats can also be crumbled over food to entice picky eaters while still adding the benefits of raw to any diet.