...and you call your brand Natural - pet industry marketing for $$

Commoditization is what happens when a name brand is perceived as being no more desirable than the store brand.

I spent the last few days at the Global Pet Expo.  This is where thousands of pet product manufacturers gather to display their brand.  In the past I always started my walk of discovery in the Natural category.  This year, after seeing the listing of exhibitors within the commoditized “Natural” category I decided to start my trek in the New Product section and make my way to the Natural segment as last stop.  

The categories were as follows:

  • New
  • International companies
  • Small Animal
  • Boutique
  • Aquatics
  • Everybody in Pet industry
  • Natural

My goal this week was to see who amongst the manufacturers of consumable goods was selling a bag of pipe dream health cure claims and who is the real deal in the world of Commoditized Nature. We cannot continue to ignore the fact that the end consumer, our pets, cannot speak for themselves. Unfortunately, the average pet owner only starts to listen once their pets begin to speak through sickness, when it has become too late for us bleary eyed bull shit believers to do anything substantial to relieve their pain and discomfort.  

The big brands most consumers recognize because of their mass marketing budgets are still in the b.s./pipe dream category. They had the BIGGEST displays and proved again to have the smallest dicks. 

  • The Blue Buffalos with the loss of a $32million class action lawsuit for lying to consumers about the real ingredients in their foods.  Unbelievably, they continued to run their expensive advertising campaign of lies for consumers that are easily manipulated.  Are you one of those consumers? 
  • Nestle-Purina (their arsenal includes Zukes and Merrick) for multiple pet food recalls and deaths due to aflatoxins.  Look at the # of complaints and ratings on a consumer affairs page and look at the various unidentifiable wires and metal pieces found in their kibble bits by consumers. I found the following article to be quite alarming:  

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/24/dog-food-maker-sued-for-allegedly-toxic-chow-but-is-it.html

  • Hills-Science diet – They are continuing to teach backward nutrition in our veterinary schools that promotes the use of corn and by-products (chicken feathers!) as nutritious, versus being unbiased and teaching about the use of whole foods along with quality grains. Their goals are based on bottom line $ and the continued sales for their brand and not pet health.  Is this the right way to guide and teach future health practitioners? 
  • Purdue and Tyson – multiple animal cruelty and abuse allegations continue to this day!!  

These companies were performing at the Global Pet Expo and they were loud. Following suit there were also hundreds of mid-level and small-level brands without the marketing budgets of the big bullshit companies that presented at global. 

Believe me consumers – you are not getting your money’s worth, and it is worse for the animals involved, whether it’s domesticated, feed or wild animals. There will be a great deal of suffering if you continue to buy into these manufacturers’ claims of guaranteed satisfaction. 

The most unnerving part of the Natural category was the not-so-natural exhibitors who intentionally shoved their displays in the middle of some of the most fabulous and ethical pet brands.

Lets talk about chutzpah and sticking out like a sore thumb:  Tyson, Full Moon Farms (owned by Perdue), Zukes (owned by Nestlé Purina)… describing them as wolf in sheep’s clothing is too kind.

If a company cannot be transparent about the ACTUAL ingredients in their foods and what nutritional value the ingredients supply, then how can we be confident in our choices and in believing the claims they make? This is the reason why every pet owner should understand how to read a pet food label.  This is an easy-to-read and -understand article to help you take the next steps in understanding the foods and making the best choices for your pets:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_pet_food_labels

It is unfortunate, but these companies do not deserve our trust.  Yet the average consumer and retailers continue to spend their hard-earned money blindly believing the marketing madness these companies are dishing out. 

Before I move on the ‘real deal’, to the brands that preach transparency, high standards of quality with ingredients, ethical food trials and manufacturing processes, let’s not forget that every company is for sale at the right price and at the right time (recent sales to Purina/Mars & P&G were Merrick, Natural Balance, and now the defunct Natura brands).
 
My understanding as of this moment in time is that the companies I adore and am listing below have NOT YET SOLD OUT to the groups that are continuing the commoditization of the Natural, high quality brands.

Companies that deserve to be in the Natural segment exist.  These are the companies that put their money into their ingredients, quality sourcing, quality assurance, manufacturing, people, process and most-importantly ethical research and development.  They exist in every category from treats to kibble to canned food to raw to freeze dried to de-hydrated to gently-cooked to quality topical treatments.


Who are they? 

  • Primal Pet foods
  • The Honest Kitchen
  • Natures Variety
  • Champion foods
  • Bixbi
  • Caru
  • Dr. Harvey’s
  • Ziwi Peak
  • Koha (Mauri)
  • Rawz
  • Rad Cat

Be aware, be smart. Perhaps your decision to make better choices for your pets will help you to help yourself with your own health.  It is not an accident that almost all of the B.B.S.C (big bull shit companies) I have listed produce the foods we purchase and consume on a daily basis. 

Do you want to know more about why your food choices matter? 

  • Cancer – Accounts for 50% of all disease-related pet deaths each year. 
  • Diabetes/Heart disease/Liver toxicity/kidney disease – Free-feeding, low-moisture foods which are high in carbohydrate content or are made from low quality ingredients are the main contributors to excess weight, heart disease, liver toxicity, and kidney failure.  

Food is our fuel.  Choosing to fuel our pets’ bodies with high value marketing campaigns versus high quality, nutrient-rich, meat-based diets should be an easy decision for everyone. 
 

*Thanks to Maeve Maddox & daily writing tips for the description