In January, Camelle Kent was named CEO of WellPet, an independent, family-owned natural pet food company. Kent, who joined WellPet in 2013 and has served as chief commercial officer in the area of product development, sales and marketing, has helped the company expand into new product categories and regions, such as product launches in the UK and Asia Pacific.
“I’m deeply honored by and excited about the opportunity to lead WellPet,” Kent explained in a company press release. “WellPet is on the cutting-edge of innovation in natural pet food, and I’m inspired every day by the expertise and commitment of our senior leadership team and the hundreds of team members who are part of the WellPet family.”
As CEO, Kent continues to be based in the Massachusetts headquarters of WellPet, which reports revenues upwards of $400 million and is home to Wellness, Old Mother Hubbard, Eagle Pack, Holistic Select, Sojos and WHIMZEES.
After nearly five months into her new role, Kent has been anything but inactive, not only continuing to pioneer fast-growing product categories but also furthering WellPet’s investment into freeze-drying and raw nutrition.
She played a major role in WellPet’s acquisition of WHIMZEES, which is manufactured by Paragon Pet Products in Veendam, Netherlands, in February. The all-natural, vegetable-based treats entered the dental chew category in 2013, and the company holds patented designs for a variety of shapes, including a hedgehog, dog bone, alligator and cross bone.
“We’ve long admired the work of WHIMZEES, their commitment to innovation and passion for bringing only the best, highest-quality natural products to pets globally,” Kent said. “This is a major growth opportunity for WellPet, and an exciting one. Natural dental chews today represent a significant and fast-growing segment of the treats market, and WHIMZEES is an established leader in this category.”
This year saw WellPet unveil new grain-free recipes for dogs and cats under its Wellness and Holistic Select brands, extend its raw-inspired Wellness TruFood line and also roll out a series of life-stage foods for Sojos. In March, Wellness entered the category of raw nutrition for pets when it premiered its first line of grain-free, raw meals and treats for dogs, Wellness CORE RawRev and Wellness CORE 100 percent Freeze-Dried Treats for dogs. Wellness also announced several new recipes for dogs and cats as part of the CORE line.
And Kent continues to be proactive on several fronts as she stands by her unwavering commitment to nutritional innovation and product quality.
“I’ve always seen raw as the next phase, the next cycle of growth, in the pet specialty market,” she said, adding that Wellness is incorporating an innovative marketing plan celebrating the Year of the Cat while Sojos will be launching new products beyond the dehydrated space. “In addition, WHIMZEES will be launching a new dental treat design at SuperZoo, and we will also plan to relaunch the Holistic Select brand with new packaging.”