Category Advisor: Pet Care: Freshpet

Freshpet is bringing new customers into the pet care aisle, making the supermarket a weekly destination for pet owners.

Specialty food consumers who are concerned about what they eat are increasingly concerned about what they’re feeding the four-legged members of their families. In the past, these High- profit pet-owning households, or HIPPOHs, have purchased their pet foods at specialty pet retailers. With a premium, fresh, grain-, corn- and wheat- free product, Freshpet is driving more HIPPOHs down the supermarket pet care aisle.

Whereas a 20-pound bag of dog food will feed a 40-pound dog for about a month, Freshpet features a smaller package size. Its largest chub contains enough fresh food for a week -- and the fresh pet food’s perishable nature increases shopper frequency. Product innovation in 2011 included five new products, boosting the line to 21 SKUs. In addition to a robust product line that includes toys, snacks and food, Freshpet offers different ways to showcase the line. Through its partnership with True Manufacturing, the brand offers 10 refrigerated units that will work in most planograms.

An analysis conducted by IRI proves that the 3,400 stores selling Freshpet have significantly higher pet food sales growth than the 8,400 stores that don’t carry the brand, according to the company. The positive impact was seen across all segments of the category, including dry dog food, pet treats and pet supplies. Since an aggressive TV marketing campaign began, sales have increased more than 20 percent.

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