Homemade Meal Delivery Services are Reshaping the Dog Food Industry
As the trend towards pet humanization continues to grow, so does the market for catering to pet parents’ desire to provide their furry friends the same nutritional food as them. We’ve seen the rise of food and treats that are made with human-grade, all-natural, locally sourced ingredients. Add to that all the enhanced treats on the market that are full of probiotics, antioxidants and even cannabinoid oil, and pets are eating healthier than most of their owners.
Many dog owners take this one step further by choosing to cook their pets homemade meals thinking it’s healthier, however, a study done at UC Davis showed that very few of the homemade food recipes available on the internet have the essential nutrients dogs need, according to canine health standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. On top of that, making an extra meal for a dog every night can become tedious and overwhelming.
To address the desire for homemade food, and need for nutrient rich meals, companies have started to take a page from meal delivery services, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, and deliver customized homemade meal plans for dogs. Not only that, but most have worked closely with veterinarians to provide dogs with the nutrients they need to thrive.
Renaldo Webb, founder of PetPlate, was looking for healthier meals for his dog Winston and worked with a veterinarian to develop homemade meals for optimal nutrition—which are currently produced in a professional cooking facility where human food is also made. With two recipes available, beef and turkey, PetPlate sends pre-portioned meals for your dog on a weekly to monthly basis, depending on the size and weight of your dog.
Taking this one step further are the companies that make meals catered to each dog’s specific nutritional needs. How much does the dog weigh? How old is the pet? What breed are they? Do they have any allergies?
After filling out a short questionnaire about a dogs gender, weight, activity level, allergies, breed and overall look, Ollie, an online subscription service based out of Pennsylvania, will recommend one of their four recipes that will best suit the pet, as well as recommend a meal plan based on whether the owner is hoping to serve their dog All Ollie, Mostly Ollie or Some Ollie. Delivered every two weeks, the homemade food stays fresh for five days after opening and comes with a custom scoop to serve each dog a precise amount.
It’s hard to argue the benefit of these companies. The founders were looking to fill a gap in the healthy pet food industry, and by shipping directly to customers they are able to keep their costs down—allowing for superior ingredients at an affordable price—and are extremely convenient for pet owners.
“We simply made a product that we wished existed for our own dogs,” said Jonathan Regev, Co-Founder and CEO of The Farmer’s Dog, a fresh pet food company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. With their personalized meal plans that are pre-portioned for a ready-to-serve meal, and delivered to homes in days—so they’re never deep frozen—The Farmer’s Dog is leading the way in the direct-to-consumer dog food market. On top of that, nutritional experts will monitor each dog’s progress and adjust meal plans as needed.
These direct-to-consumer pet meal companies are continuing to grow and expand. With their made-to-order plans that are designed by veterinarians and customized to each dog, pet stores are going to have to find ways to compete with this emerging industry.