The Raw Truth
Patricia Greene, founder and CEO of Raw Bistro Pet Fare, discusses why not all raw food and treats are equal.
Pet Business: How can selling raw food, treats and recreation bones give pet stores a competitive edge? Is simply stocking these items enough?
Patricia Greene: Stocking the products is a great start. However, with interest and demand for raw food growing, it’s also important for retailers and their staff to learn about these products and the many benefits of feeding raw, so they can help their customers understand those benefits, as well as what differentiates one brand from another. Just like conventional foods, not all raw is created equal. Those retailers who can offer their clientele knowledge on the subject and differentiate with leading-edge products will definitely have an advantage.
PB: What sets Raw Bistro apart from others in the market?
Greene: We believe Raw Bistro is truly the highest-quality raw canine diet on the market for several reasons. First and foremost is the work we did up-front, collaborating with best animal nutritionists and veterinarians to create the recipes, which mimic the canine ancestral diet. Each recipe is formulated to not only meet all AAFCO standards, but also reflect the most current knowledge on nutritional profiles. In addition, all are true rotational diets, meaning that each animal source is paired with a custom blend of veggies, berries and vitamins/minerals.
Equally important is the quality of our source animals; all of the beef we use is 100-percent grass-fed, which means the animals are grass-fed for their entire lives, not just for the first few months, as with most beef that is labeled grass-fed. That’s why our labels say 100-percent grass-fed. As for our bison, chicken and turkey, they are all free-range. The farms we work with are committed to raising their animals in the most natural and humane ways possible, and never administer any kind of hormones or antibiotics. This is very important to us, and why we have the words “Made with respect” on every package.
Finally, we make all of our entrées and treats in small batches in our own hyper-clean production facility. Smaller batches allow for better mixing of ingredients and greater quality control. We also make our food as it’s ordered. That means fresher products in pet store freezers.
PB: How does Raw Bistro’s commitment to utilizing sustainable, local ingredients fit with the overall concept of wholesome, raw nutrition?
Greene: From the beginning, we made the decision to source our ingredients as close to home as possible, without sacrificing quality, and most of our meats come from within 100 miles of our plant in Cannon Falls, Minn. For us, sustainable is just common sense. It’s taking care to think things through and make decisions accordingly—anything that’s not sustainable is, by definition, unworkable in the long run. Wholesome nutrition for dogs, for us, means knowing where our food comes from. Working with local producers enables us to visit them regularly, develop personal relationships and better understand their production processes. By knowing the quality and integrity of each ingredient, we know the quality and integrity of the food we make.
PB: What are the latest and most exciting developments at Raw Bistro?
Greene: We’re very excited to have just introduced our Bison Entrée for Dogs, which is a product we’ve been working on since last fall. I believe we are the only raw company to have a single-source bison product available on the market. Because bison is a less typical animal source, it is often a better choice for dogs with sensitivities to chicken or beef. Like all Raw Bistro products, it’s also grain- and gluten-free.
Something else that’s new is our packaging. We’ve just switched over to new light-blocking, pre-printed resealable bags that do a better job of protecting the contents. The design also uses bright colors to make it easy for consumers to see, at a glance, what they’re pulling from the freezer. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on our packaging and the overall branding of Raw Bistro; consumers really make the connection to our values.