I know the number of pet food brands you see in stores is overwhelming. This is the same thing we retailers and distributors see when we attend industry trade shows with pet food companies from all over the world shoving brochures in our hands. So, how do you narrow it down?
Before you choose your next pet food supplier, it is important for you to realize that every bag they supply will give you limited information about the quality and safety of the food.
The label will only give you details about the general composition, the ingredients, and the life stages it is prepared for.
But, the pet food does not tell you the quality of the ingredients, where the ingredients are sourced, or how nutritious the recipes are.
Unfortunately, there are many loopholes for bad products with great marketing to find their way into the stores. As a person who is passionate about a great pet diet, I believe that the best pet food depends on the pet’s health and nutritional needs.
It’s important for pet food sellers to interview their pet food suppliers to see which one best suits their customers' needs. Here are some top questions to ask your new pet food supplier to help you make an informed decision about whether to bring their pet food on your shelves.
1. Who is the owner of the brand?
How big is the brand and is it family-owned or is it owned by a major conglomerate that owns different household products including pet food.
Choosing a company that specializes in pet food would be great because they have a great interest in the well-being of pets other than a company that generalizes in everything.
2. Where is their pet food actually made?
Is the pet food made by the company that owns the brand or is the pet food made by a third-party company that processes many different brands?
You also need to know if the pet food is made in a co-packing plant. Importantly, ask if there had been any recalls of any of their brands and what were the reasons for the recall. This will help you to clearly know exactly who you will be working with.
If a company manufactures their own pet food, they must be in a position to confidently tell you their quality control measures during their production process to their final product.
3. What is the quality of the ingredients used to make the pet food?
Are they whole meat sources or by-products? You also need to know what type of grain, starches and vegetables are used to make the pet food. Also, get to know if the ingredients are human-grade, organic, or are sourced locally.
Asking these questions will help you understand the quality of the pet food you are about to stock.
4. What is the reputation of the company?
Has your company ever had a recall? If so, why was the recall, why was your brand recalled and what measures did you take to make sure this does not happen again?
No pet food seller wants to deal with a recall. The pet food company you are about to choose should at least be able to brief you on the quality control checks they use to help them catch issues before the product goes to the market.
5. What are the reviews like?
Do they have 4-5 star reviews online? What do people talk about their food on social media? Are they negative or positive comments?
These questions will help you know the exact feelings about pet food from direct consumers. It would be a great way to help you make a sober decision about whether to stock the pet food.
6. What is the availability of pet food?
Are there numerous distributors available? Is the pet food available in the grocery store or do they only sell through independent sellers?
Asking these questions will help you know how fast the food will move from the shelves and how to price the pet food considering it’s locally available in grocery stores.
7. How palatable is their pet food?
Do customer reviews indicate whether pets love pet food? Is the pet food supplier willing to give out free samples so that sellers can test if pets love their food?
The packaging and the marketing can show that pet food is the best in the world, but if pets do not love it, it will never sell.
8. How long have you been in the pet food industry?
There is nothing wrong with working with new pet food suppliers, but sometimes new suppliers have a lot of difficulties in finding quality suppliers as they scale.
It’s important to know the experience of the staff and the background of the company. Some pet food companies may have started with manufacturing other foods before transitioning to pet food production.
There is no harm in doing this.
It will be therefore important for you to know when their pet food manufacturing started and what experienced staff they have brought on to help them navigate the pet food space.
9. Do you have any quality control on the final product?
How often do they perform quality control on their ingredients and the level of nutrients consistency in their final product? Asking these questions will help know if they do a typical analysis on their final product.
It’s also important to know if the company tests its final products for pathogens. If so, what pathogens do they test for and how often? Does the company follow and practice good manufacturing practices?
I hope this article will help you choose your next pet food supplier for your pet food business. I know the process of choosing a pet food supplier can be overwhelming since there are literally thousands of pet food brands you can stock.
If you need a bit of extra help, feel free to reach out and get to know about our economy, premium, and super-premium brands that you can stock.