Pet Business: Tell us about Emerald Pet’s approach to pet treats. What sets Emerald Pet Products apart from its competitors?
Glenn A. Novotny: Emerald Pet uses only the best quality U.S. ingredients and U.S. manufacturing for our Smart n’ Tasty line of natural treats and chews. We specialize in formulas based on limited ingredients with amazing palatability, while being dedicated to the pet specialty channel. Each product we manufacture has unique qualities with added benefits versus our competitors; like our dental chews made with an outer layer to scrape the teeth clean, and an inner layer for natural fresh breath with mint, parsley and dill.
PB: What are the biggest trends in the treat category? How should retailers be responding?
Novotny: Lately, there has been an increased focus on the country of origin for the ingredients and manufacturing. We have also seen consumers becoming more and more aware of their pets’ sensitivities to specific ingredients. It is important to understand the ingredient panels of the products and be able to explain the purpose or function to the customer.
PB: What are Emerald Pet’s newest product introductions? What are some of the standout features of these products?
Novotny: Our new Smart n’ Tasty Piggy Twist all-natural chews for dogs are available in three lengths: five inches, nine inches and twelve inches. The Piggy Twist chews use a single source of protein (pork) with an easy-to-read limited ingredient panel. They are grain free, gluten free, dairy free and soy free, with no artificial ingredients, flavors or colors. They satisfy the chewing urge without the odor or staining present in other chew varieties. The dogs in our office have been sitting at our feet, begging for more, since we gave them their first Piggy Twist.
PB: How can pet stores utilize creative merchandising and promotions to improve treat sales?
Novotny: Pet owners are always looking for something new when it comes to treats and chews. Getting customers to try new items that are only available in your store is sure to keep them coming back to see your next recommendation. Creating endcaps or counter displays with rotating new items will draw attention and spark up conversation between the customers and the store employees.
PB: What does the future hold for the treat category?
Novotny: Our team at Emerald Pet always looks toward human trends to help predict desirable product attributes on the pet side. Consumers are more knowledgeable than ever when it comes to what they feed their pets. Storeowners continue to look for items they can stand behind from the ingredient panel and that are exclusive to the pet specialty channel.
PB: What does the future hold for Emerald Pet?
Novotny: At Emerald Pet, we continue to look at each segment of the business to analyze where innovation can set us apart. Each product we develop must meet our high standards, contain only U.S. ingredients and provide the end user with a unique experience they know their pet will love as much as they do.