Non-Pet Food Companies Pursue Pamparing Pet Parents

Discussion
Aug 18, 2005
Rick Moss

By Rick Moss

Attention frozen food category managers: make room for doggie. According to the Chicago Tribune, Dreyer’s is scoring a big hit with its Frosty Paws Frozen Treats for Dogs
and it’s extending the brand. The nation’s largest ice cream company reports that the items, which wears a Purina logo (both companies are controlled by Nestlé), have become
its most profitable product line.

Frosty Paws’ success should come as no surprise to those following the “pampered pet” phenomenon. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimates that $35.9 billion
will be spent on pets in the U.S. this year, more than doubling the 1994 total. Of the estimate, $14.5 billion is attributable to food purchases. An average dog owner in this
country will spend upwards of $68 annually on dog treats alone.

The original Frosty Paws flavor is “a sort of doggie vanilla” and, in its more than 10 years on the shelf, has grown to a $10 million product line. The suggested selling price
is a high-margin $3.59 for a four-pack of 3.5-ounce cups. A new flavor introduction, peanut butter, is said by the company to be more palatable to dogs than traditional doggie
flavors like…say beef, and certainly more appealing to the human decision maker.

Dreyer’s product is representative, says Bob Vetere, managing director of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, of a trend in which “human product makers are making
line extensions into the pet business.”

Moderator’s Comment: Will other “human product makers” follow suit and pursue opportunities in pet foods and treats?

There aren’t too many categories presently in grocery that offer the growth opportunities that you’ll see in the Pet aisle. And there seems to be no end
in sight to the indulgent lengths pet owners will go to express their love and adoration for Sparky and Snowball. Seems like a formula for success to me.

Rick Moss – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Non-Pet Food Companies Pursue Pamparing Pet Parents"


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Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

A cute story no doubt, but hey, it’s been out 10 years and it’s still only a $10 million product. So it’s not taking over the world. As far as “most profitable product” goes, I am sure they are talking margin, not total dollars profit. There’s certainly a trend in this direction, with a lot of it geared to pet health as well. Check out petmeds.com Besides the usual flea/tick/heartworm meds, they are pushing pet medicines for all the maladies now being felt by aging boomers, including joint pain, arthritis, etc. Lots of boomers treat their pets as surrogate children, and now relate to pains their pets are going through, so there’s opportunity there. The same basic trends for humans also fit dogs: healthy treats, the occasional bad-for-you indulgence, meds to ease aging, etc.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

People see their pets as almost children and certainly companions. Why not have pet foods that mimic the categories people want for themselves: snacks, desserts, organic, holiday, seasonal, ethnic? Some simple, low-cost market research among people with pets would reveal the high-potential categories.

The volume might be low, but it might be profitable in some niche markets. Three Dog Bakery has a couple of dozen stores across the US, and their products are sold in several drug and grocery chains (though not necessarily chain-wide).

Rose Jannuzzi
Guest
Rose Jannuzzi
15 years 6 months ago

I hate to admit it but my husband and I have been buying Frosty Paws for our dog for several years now. He loves them.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 6 months ago

Oh good, now we can start reading articles about the doggie obesity epidemic, doggie body image problems, and doggie health spas. Then the doggie linked health problems will start, and we’ll have a whole class of doggie maintenance drugs. Then, of course, doggie Viagra.

Doggie restaurants, anyone?

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

Can’t resist answering this question with a few questions of my own. If the new doggie line is their most profitable product, does this mean it has the biggest profit margin? Has the company decided that people who love their pets will pay unlimited amounts of money for luxuries for them? Even more than they will pay to feed themselves and their human family?

Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
15 years 6 months ago

Not only does my dog receive special meals, special treats, toys, and walks at sunset…now that I think about it, I would like to be my dog. I can not even count the amount of friends that treat their pet as the center of attention. Not only will companies expand into this category, but they also will find out it is not price sensitive and very profitable.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 6 months ago

Pets, especially dogs, are members of the family, and growing!

Crazy, maybe, bur many singles, empty nesters and ‘regular’ families give their love, love & more love, and attention to their dogs, and other pets!!!!

I worked for Ralston Purina, and they have been playing, if you will, and marketing the pet as a family member for decades.

What is next for our beloved doggies, and other pets? Bom Bom, and televisions in kennels for dogs? Believe it or not, this is happening today! Money to be made, with consumers spending 23 billion on their pets, as reported by the San Diego newspaper. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

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