A Flair for the Exotic

Ahdee Abramson, president of Pet Ventures, Inc., says that pet owners are becoming more adventurous in the types of treats and chews they feed their animal companions.


Pet Business: How is the all-natural pet chews and treats category performing in pet stores? What is driving this performance?

Ahdee Abramson:
The category certainly seems to be growing and evolving. What is driving this is the fact that people want to treat their pets very well and believe that all-natural products are better for them and their animals. They want a minimum amount of ingredients possible in the chews and treats category, and they’re looking for natural ingredients wherever they can.

PB: What are the latest trends in all-natural treats and chews?

As people become more adventurous with the types of foods they eat themselves, one of the trends that we’ve seen over the past couple years is more variety in the types of animal parts that are being used in the category— for example, chicken feet have done very well for us over the past year and a half. Consumers are interested in trying new parts of the animals, whereas bones were the standards before. So, there is certainly a trend toward more exotic alternatives, and manufacturers will keep looking for the next innovative part to introduce. 

The best way that retailers can take advantage of this trend is by simply talking about it with their customers. Displaying these products properly and being knowledgeable about them will go a long way in helping retailers with those conversations and inspiring customers to try some of the newer options in the category.

PB: With so many treat and chew products available, how can retailers build the right selection for their stores?

It can be tricky. There is no silver bullet. Building the right selection will depend on the type of store, the size of the store and the demographics of its customer base. For example, if you have a small, boutique store, maybe your customers won’t be looking for a raw bone—that might be too raw for them. In that case, you may want to display products that are a bit more refined in their presentation. On the other hand, a bigger store may want to offer a wider selection.

Part of the service that we offer to our retailer customers is working with them to help them identify what product mix will work in their stores. That, combined with the fact that we offer a wide variety of products in different treat and chew categories, really makes the retailer’s job easier.

PB: What sets Pet Ventures and the Pet ‘n Shape brand apart from the competition?

We’ve always emphasized our service and support—that has been our competitive advantage and the cornerstone of everything we do. We want to exceed customer expectations with every high-quality product we produce. We also pride ourselves on our active promotional support and services, and on our bold, professional-looking packaging.

PB: What are the newest developments from Pet Ventures and its Pet ‘n Shape brand?

Adding bagged items has been a new development for us. We offer some of our items not only in bulk, but in individual bags or multi-packs. We also have the flexibility to tailor multi-packs for retailers.

PB: What does the future hold for Pet Ventures, and the chews and treats category?

The category is going to continue to grow and evolve, and we will continue to grow and evolve with it by exceeding expectations. We believe that if we take care of our customers, everything else will take care of itself. PB

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