Worthy Promotional Products, headquartered in Wetumpka, Alabama, is known for products in five categories: cleaning, personal care, tabletop, household paper, and general merchandise. Now this family-owned company — one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America — has added a sixth to that list. In July, the company launched Birdie & Louie, its first entrant in the pet food category. Progressive Grocer reached out to Vice President Matthew Worthy to learn more about the line and what makes it stand out from other products on the market today.
Progressive Grocer: Your family has been a leader in household cleaning and personal care products. How did you decide to get into pet food?
Matthew Worthy: We might be outsiders where pet food is concerned, but we are outsiders with expertise in an area that’s getting a lot of attention: the supply chain. We have a reputation as the company grocers can call to fix supply chain problems. So, when a large grocery chain came to us and said they couldn’t find good wet pet food, we decided to bring our expertise to the pet food category. We started with cat food because there was an urgency; there had been less cat food available in grocery stores during the past year or so. Since our cat food is tuna based, we visited Ecuador, the tuna capital of the world, found a manufacturer, and quickly put a deal together to source tuna for Birdie & Louie.
PG: How have you become the go-to company for grocers having a tough time keeping product on-shelf?
MW: Retailers had become addicted to low prices in China, so they were in a pickle in 2020 and 2021 because logistical issues coming out of Asia were chaotic. We worked with underutilized sources in Mexico for our consumer packaged goods, and bought a warehouse in Laredo, Texas — those moves enabled us to fill orders when others couldn’t. When we learned retailers were having trouble getting pet food (due to the fact most brands work with contract manufacturers typically located in Asia), we tapped our entrepreneurial spirit and stepped up to solve that supply chain problem, too. We also manufacture and distribute products from our Alabama headquarters and use the Laredo warehouse for supplemental importing and distribution. The fact we’re a family business that can manufacture, distribute, source, print and package gives us a big advantage where the supply chain is concerned.