Pet Age spoke with Ziwi’s Mary Helen Horn, general manager of sales and marketing, North America division, about what makes her company’s pet food different from other brands on the market.
Q Tell us about Ziwi’s origin.
A Ziwi was founded in 2004 by a New Zealand couple, Peter and Kimberly Mitchell. Combining 20 years of experience in the meat industry with their passion for pets and nutrition, they modernized and refined the ages-old artisan technique of preserving meats to create an innovative new product: air-dried pet food. It’s common knowledge that New Zealanders refer to themselves as “Kiwis,” and “Ziwi” is a play on that word. “Peak” refers to being at the pinnacle of pet nutrition and is also a reference to the hometown of Ziwi, Mount Maunganui. Ziwi products are made by a small team in New Zealand. Our love for pets is pure and simple, just like our recipes. This year Ziwi introduced a completely new look with new and improved recipes.
Q The tagline on the Ziwi website is “The New Zealand Difference.” What advantage does that give you over the competition in the dog and cat food market?
A Ziwi sources all of our fresh meats and seafood from New Zealand’s green, free-range farms and blue, pristine oceans. Because of New Zealand’s temperate climate, farm animals graze outdoors in grass pastures all year long. We believe that foods are the most wholesome and nutritious when in their simplest form. That’s why Ziwi meats are free of antibiotics, growth promotants and added hormones. Ziwi only sources from humane, ethical and sustainably managed local farms that exceed the strict New Zealand government’s regulatory standards, and our fish are caught in the oceans of New Zealand, also strictly managed by New Zealand’s government. All Ziwi meats and seafood are sourced from human-grade, export-certified facilities.
Q Are there any unique ingredients in your air-dried or moist foods?
A Each Ziwi recipe includes large amounts of fresh meat, organs, bone and seafood to mirror the whole-prey, nutrient-dense carnivore diet that promotes optimum health. Each Ziwi recipe includes 3 percent green mussel and 7 percent cold-washed green tripe. Green mussel contains glucosamine and chondroitin for optimum joint mobility and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which promote healthy skin and coat. Green tripe supports healthy digestion and increases palatability for even the pickiest eaters. Our limited ingredient list reduces the risk of allergies and increases the palatability of our foods, but your pet won’t miss a thing because Ziwi foods are 100 percent complete and balanced for all breeds and life stages. Ziwi foods are 95 percent digestible, which means your pets will be able to absorb all the nutrients they need and will feel satisfied longer.
Q What can you tell us about the air-drying process? What are the nutritional benefits to this technique?
A As a true carnivore, a pet dog or cat isn’t built to process carbohydrates, so we never use grains, corn, soy, wheat, rice, potatoes or fillers. As a result, a pet is less likely to develop allergies, skin irritations and digestion issues. Rendered meats are not pretty. Ziwi foods contain no tetrasodium pyrophosphate, carrageenan, agar-agar, added sugar, glycerin, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Our can linings are BPA-free. Ziwi’s air-dried foods are handcrafted in small batches each day in our own facility. Our slow, gentle, twin-stage, air-drying process eliminates pathogenic bacteria while protecting the nutrients in our ingredients. Our modern twist on this centuries-old process of preserving meats eliminates the need for preservatives, sugars or glycerin. The result is a food that is as nutrient-dense and digestible as a completely raw diet, but that is safe, hygienic and clean to handle. Ziwi air-dried foods are nutrient dense and high in natural protein and calories. Since they pack more power than raw food and kibble, pet owners feed smaller quantities per day. Ziwi air-dried products are more convenient to feed than raw, freeze-dried or dehydrated food, as there is no need to thaw or rehydrate. Our scoop-and-serve convenience makes it easy to feed Ziwi air-dried as a complete diet, a nutritious topper or a delicious training reward.