Superfoods from the Sea
Grizzly Pet Products offers a range of high-quality, all-natural nutritional products for pets made from wild-caught, ocean-based ingredients.
Everyone knows that grizzly bears are naturally drawn to the exceptional nutritional value and palatability of wild salmon, so it only makes sense that the pet industry’s premier producer of salmon-based nutritional products would derive its name from these ursine gourmands. Now, Grizzly Pet Products is building on that reputation with a new team of sales managers and a soon-to-be-released line of complete Super Food diets.
Grizzly Pet Products was founded in 2002, when company president Harald Fisker—whose background was in engineering, design and marketing for industrial fish- and meat-processing plants—realized that the salmon oil he saw being produced as a human-food byproduct could have excellent nutritional value for pets.
“All of the salmon oil being produced in Norway during the ‘90s was being fed to pigs, which I thought was a shame,” he says.
Having moved to the U.S. a couple of years earlier, Fisker was inspired to make better use of that omega-rich oil by striking off into the pet industry. “At the time, the pet market seemed to be the best option if you wanted to start anything; it was constantly growing,” he says.
While Fisker originally thought that salmon oil would be embraced by pet owners because of the value its omega-3 fatty acids had in supporting cardiovascular health, he says that skin and coat issues turned out to be a much bigger sales driver. “Also, the natural taste [of the salmon oil] is very palatable compared to some of the omega-3 products on the market at the time,” says Fisker.
At first, Grizzly Pet Products’ salmon oil came from Norwegian fisheries, but in 2004, the company began sourcing wild-caught Alaskan salmon. This not only provided logistical benefits, it also gave the company access to a higher-quality product. According to Fisker, the omega-3s are considerably higher and the omega-6s are considerably lower in wild-caught salmon, which provides the optimal balance for pet nutrition. In fact, he says that the enhanced potency of wild-caught salmon enables pet owners to use 40 percent less product than they would with farmed salmon oil, with the same results.
Grizzly Pet Products’ debut product was Grizzly Salmon Oil, a liquid dog food supplement packaged in an eight-ounce bottle. However, it wouldn’t be long before the company began expanding the range of sizes for its original product, as well as diversifying its offerings.
For its next introduction into the pet market, Grizzly Pet Products turned once again to salmon. This time the company decided to harness the power of omega-3 fatty acids in treats. The Grizzly Super Treats line includes dehydrated Salmon Fillet Treats for dogs and cats, two varieties of baked Crunchy Training Treats for dogs (smoked salmon, and salmon with green pea and kelp), and baked Crunchy Cat Treats. “They are very high in protein and have only a few ingredients,” says Fisker, noting that they contain no fillers or added carbohydrates.
When it came time to add a third product, Fisker chose pollock oil—a less expensive source of omega-3 fatty acids. “It doesn’t have the same omega-3 profile as salmon oil,” he explains. “Pollock oil is rich in EPA, which is good for the skin and coat, but it’s not very rich in the DHA part, which supports brain and nervous functions, as well as the immune system.”
The result is a dog food supplement that costs about 20 percent less than its salmon-oil-based counterpart, but is still quite efficacious in supporting skin and coat health.
Building on the success of its growing product lineup, in 2013, Grizzly Pet Products launched its first proprietary product formulated to provide hip and joint support in pets. Grizzly Joint Aid is available in both liquid and “mini-pellet” form and contains four active joint-support ingredients—glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and hyaluronic acid (HA). “We also add some krill oil to increase absorption [of the active ingredients],” says Fisker.
In addition to incorporating krill oil into its Grizzly Joint Aid products, the company used this ingredient as the foundation for a new liquid dog food supplement. Grizzly Krill Oil not only helps with nutrient absorption, it is also very rich in antioxidants that remove potentially damaging free radicals that can form in a pet’s digestive tract.
While Fisker has long known about the nutritional benefits of krill oil, he says that the company held off on incorporating this valuable addition to its product lineup until sustainable sourcing could be found. The wild Antarctic krill used by Grizzly Pet Products is harvested in accordance with international standards set by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The company’s commitment to sustainable sourcing also applies to its salmon-based products, including the newest additions to its lineup—Grizzly Super Foods. These high-protein, low-glycemic, complete diets will make their debut at next month’s SuperZoo tradeshow in Las Vegas. Included in the line are dehydrated and oven-baked recipes for dogs, and an oven-baked recipe for cats.
“The concept behind the Super Foods is to keep the ingredients list short and the processing extremely gentle to deliver a level of quality that has not been seen on the market so far,” says Fisker. “We do not add any fillers or carbohydrates. We use certified-organic coconut meal for the fiber we need to deliver such high protein content.”
Grizzly Super Food diets will be made in-house and are expected to start shipping in mid-August. Two sizes are being produced for both of the dog formulas—one- and three-pound bags for the dehydrated formula, and two- and four-pound bags for the baked formula. The cat formula will initially be available in a three-pound bag.
On hand to support the launch of Grizzly Pet Products’ latest nutritional innovation is the company’s new eight-member sales team, which was assembled earlier this year. “They’re already helping us a lot, by going into stores and educating retailers,” says Fisker, noting that the company will be introducing a new floor display to help promote the launch of the Grizzly Super Foods line.
With so many new offerings under its belt, Fisker says that Grizzly Pet Products will spend the next year or so mostly focused on expanding the distribution and awareness of its products, further securing its reputation as the market leader in salmon oil products in North America and beyond.
“We are in 22 countries in Europe, most of the countries in Asia, and a few countries in Latin America,” he says. “So, we’re a small company, but the good products we have are being asked for in many parts of the world.”