As the lines between pet food and human food blur - does transparency matter?
Recently, I had an opportunity to listen to a webinar exploring 2019 trend predictions for pet food, sponsored by the Pet Food Industry Magazine, and Watt Global Media. Guest speakers included Lindsay Beaton, Managing Editor for Pet Food Industry, and Maria Lange, Director of Client Consulting for Nielsen. Their presentation revealed that several of the trends from 2018 will continue their trajectory for this coming year, most notably - clean-label, transparency, personalization, e-commerce, and premiumization.
Sound familiar? As I was writing this blog, I was compelled to review the “top human food” predictions for 2019, and as you can guess, there are striking similarities. Healthful, clean-label products offered by companies who are transparent appear to be key to both the pet and human food industry alike. It might be stated best in a quote Lindsay Beaton shared from Chris Butterworth, Innovation Director of Mars Pet Care, “human eating trends are consistently trickling over into pet foods, with pet parents wanting their pet’s diets to match their own…. this humanization trend has been and will continue to be at the forefront of pet food trends.”
In February’s pet blog we examined the Clean Label trend and what the vast majority of “passionate pet owners” did not want to see on the labels of the foods they feed their fur babies, and the bold move Petco implemented to serve this customer base. Other industry professionals’ take on clean-label is equal to healthy products. If clean-labels are synonymous with healthy, what are humans looking for – in their foods, and eventually in what they feed their animals? Maybe healthy means “none of the so-called bad ingredients”, and products made from wholesome ingredients, like oats, white meat chicken, fruits and vegetables.
In today’s blog, I'd like to discuss another trend: Transparency. Does Transparency Matter? I believe, it does. In fact, I believe it is essential in sharing your company’s story to build trust and loyalty.
In a recent article published by Food Navigator titled - Transparency-The-clear-route-to-success, Mike Rogers, co-founder of Eat Troo Brand, agreed transparency is key for any company these days, adding that he aims to make his company a certified B Corporation*, meaning meeting the highest standards of public transparency is integral to the way he does business.
As the lines between people and pet foods blur, will full transparency take root? If so, what does transparency really mean? Do pet food manufacturers need to be more open about where they source their ingredients from, how their products are produced, and what their companies’ values, beliefs and behaviors are? Some consumer’s surveys suggest yes, and a large percentage of consumers care about the companies’ cultures and behaviors. This sentiment was supported by Maria Lange, Director of Client Consulting for Nielsen, who shared that “transparency is the string that links the “path” to purchase, pet owners want to know where the food comes from, and what is in the foods they feed their pet.”
An in-depth transparency story might be a successful way to set your brand apart, demonstrating that your ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced from trusted suppliers, and your companies’ commitment to quality, honesty, and the efforts behind making a positive impact in communities, and the environment.
Providing complete transparency, from field to final form, is just one of the ways we support our customers with their food journey story. Tree Top is proud to share our growers’ farming practices and how we manufacture their crops into wholesome fruit ingredients. To learn more about where and how we manufacture our fruit ingredients – view some of our videos. As a grower-owned fruit co-operative, and a supplier of fruit ingredient to both the Pet and Human Food Manufacturing Industry – Tree Top understands people’s desire to know the story of where their foods originate, including who is growing it, how it’s grown and harvested and, ultimately, whether it was grown and processed mindfully and sustainably.
For more information on our product offerings for the pet food industry, stop by and see us at the Pet Food Forum April 16th & 17th, 2019, we will be located at booth number 533, and will be handing out fun and useful promotional items.
*Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.