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Thread: Small pet stores see healthy growth of organic food sales

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Small pet stores see healthy growth of organic food sales

    By Cyndia Zwahlen
    February 7, 2011

    Sales of premium-priced organic and natural pet food are expected to grow three times as fast as pet food sales overall through 2015.


    Organic, raw and even gluten-free food choices aren't just for people anymore.

    These options are showing up at local pet shops that are looking to distinguish themselves from big-box competitors. After a slowdown in sales of premium-priced food during the recession, independent pet shops said the sector was recovering.

    At the Modern Dog, a boutique in a Venice bungalow, co-owner Lance Castro was looking to add two new brands of freeze-dried raw food and premium kibble to the seven he already sells.
    "It's done wonders for our business," said Castro, who opened the Abbot Kinney Boulevard store with Guy Miracle five years ago.
    The store's popular Sojos dehydrated dog food mix of sweet potatoes, turkey, apples and flax meal, among other ingredients, costs $21.99 for a 2-pound bag, to which water is added to make 10 pounds of food.
    Castro said he was looking at sites for a second location where he plans to have a refrigeration unit for fresh and frozen raw-food brands.

    Nationwide, annual retail sales of organic and natural pet food are expected to grow three times as fast as pet food sales overall through 2015, according to an industry report to be released this week by the Packaged Facts market research company.
    Industry analyst David Lummis, who wrote the report, estimated that natural and organics would grow 12% a year on average, hitting $2.8 billion in 2015. By comparison, he expects an average 4% annual growth rate for the entire pet food market over the same period. Overall pet food sales will reach $22.1 billion in 2015, Lummis said.

    "People are treating their dog food like some people are treating their baby food," said Todd Martin, vice president of marketing for Castor & Pollux Pet Works, a Clackamas, Ore., company that makes organic pet food and treats. "They want to know it's safe, and they want to know it's quality."

    Still, organic pet food — which costs as much as 30% more than non-organic — remains a tiny part of the overall market.
    Many independent shops, which are in the vanguard of the organic food sector, got a boost in business in 2007 when pets died from eating food that contained imported wheat gluten and rice protein contaminated with melamine. The poisonous contaminant even showed up in some brands sold as being natural.

    As with food for people, there are no regulations governing the word "natural" on pet food labels. But pet foods marketed as organic must meet the same U.S. Department of Agriculture standards as human food in the category, according to USDA spokesperson Soo Kim.
    Annual sales of organic pet food increased tenfold from 2002 to 2009, when sales hit $84 million, according to the Organic Trade Assn.
    Now that organics are becoming more popular, some large pet store chains are also carrying them, said Joan Storms, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

    But the more exotic raw and organic pet food is still mostly the province of independent shops.
    Neal Massa is co-owner of My Pet Naturally in West Los Angeles, where customers can find raw elk meat for $7.49 a pound and raw chicken and lamb for Fido for about $4 a pound.
    "My clientele are probably mostly single, more single women than not, and what I am finding is that these are their kids," Massa said, referring to his customers' pets. "So you are going to spend a little bit more money for pet food."

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,2865166.story

  2. #2
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small pet stores see healthy growth of organic food sales

    Ever since I began researching what goes into pet foods, I've made a point of feeding my cats as close to their natural diet as I can afford. If I still had a dog, I'd do the same, except that dogs having evolved largely on human table scraps, it's a bit easier there. This does not mean organic brands, which are far beyond my simple means. For several months of the year I have access to raw ground organ meats from a local slaughterhouse, a buck a pound. Next year I plan to start earlier, look around more, and freeze a larger quantity that will take me through the summer when critters are not being butchered.

    I won't go into detail; just Google "what's in petfood" and you'll get a cascade of revolting information.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small pet stores see healthy growth of organic food sales

    I cannot afford the organic dog foods. I do feed my dogs Taste of the Wild which is wheat, corn and soy free and uses ingredients like bison, wild duck, along with chicken etc. This food also is coated with a probiotic. My dogs have about 1/2 the stool they had on regular food and their stuff don't stink, lol. I tried the dogs I had 3 years ago on a raw diet and they did not tolerate it. Maybe if a dog is started young on it? I don't know why but raw was a disaster. Around here, their 30% more than regular dog food is a major underestimate. I would say the difference is very close to 100% more.

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