The Ethical Approach to Chews
The Ethical Products team discusses how its longtime commitment to independent pet retailers has influenced the launch of its Fieldcrest Farms natural chews.
Ethical Products has been innovating pet care for nearly 70 years now. What has been the key to such a long history of success? How important have independent pet retailers been in shaping that success? The key to our success has been operating our business in an “Ethical” manner for the past seven decades. This means being ethical, honest and forthright with consumers, retailers, employees, suppliers and everyone else in the supply chain.
Independent retailers have always been and will continue to be very important to the success of our company. They are the backbone of the industry and supply the accessories and livestock that must be available to ensure a healthy pet accessory business. Ethical goes to great lengths to support the independent pet retailer by offering a myriad number of customized programs to support their growth and success.
Ethical Products is primarily known as a pet supplies company. What inspired your expansion into the natural chews category? In reviewing the wants and needs from our valued customers, we realized very quickly that the natural chews category required a somewhat different approach to introducing product and supporting our retail and distribution partners. We wanted to do things differently, which included the development of a temperature-controlled storage facility, as well as the decision to support our brick-and-mortar partners, exclusively. This approach also allows our partners to piggyback on their current Ethical Products business, ultimately allowing them to streamline purchasing and explore vendor consolidation.
Tell us about the Fieldcrest Farms line. What sets these natural chews apart from other products in the category? What are some of the key products in the line? There are several initiatives that we felt imperative to the success of our partners in this category. Knowing that retail shelf space is a premium, we decided to offer a solution with a very compact 32 SKU assortment. This strategy helps our retail partners fully enter the natural treat space without the worry of bloated inventory levels through duplicative or slower-moving SKUs.
Although compact, the assortment of SKUs in our line consists of the category’s popular items, including a variety of straight and braided bully sticks, meaty bones, knuckles and a host of high-performing chews in the natural segment.
It was announced that Fieldcrest Farms products will only be sold through independent brick-and-mortar pet stores. Why is this important to Ethical? From the onset, we felt very strongly that the support of our brick-and-mortar partners was paramount—not only to the success of our brand, but to their businesses, as well. Our commitment to those retailers helps create demand for the pet parents shopping those retailers and allows for our partners to compete on a level playing field while enjoying margins that promote healthy business. We also wanted to ensure that our brick-and-mortar partners have access to an uninterrupted flow of products that maintain our mandates for high quality and competitive pricing in the natural chew category.
What does the future hold for the Fieldcrest Farms line and Ethical’s participation in the natural chews category? While we have been thrilled with the response to our line and strategy to support our brick-and-mortar partners, the near future will bring us a number of exciting and innovative SKUs in the natural chew segment in early 2020. These new additions will offer our business partners an opportunity to secure new shares of the pet chew category without cannibalizing dollars from another segment. We are excited for these new additions and think our partners will share our enthusiasm. PB