On the Cutting Edge of Nutrition
Sara Kuris-Morgan, founder and CEO of Frenchie’s Kitchen, discusses how her company’s human-grade, made-in-the-USA diets meet the demands of today’s discerning pet owners.
Pet Business: Tell us about Frenchie’s Kitchen. How did the company get started? What inspired you to get into the pet food business?
Sara Kuris-Morgan: I started Frenchie’s Kitchen to feed my own sick French bulldog puppy, Romeo. He had been dealing with severe digestive issues since he was born. We went to specialists across the country and spent lots of money, with no results. I finally travelled to Dallas to meet with a holistic vet whose specialty was food therapy. With her guidance, the recipes were formed and my cooking days began. Romeo began to improve and eventually got off all of his prescription medications.
The vet loved what I was doing and asked if I would make prescription meals for her clients. The results were amazing. We saw with our own eyes the power of nutrition. As the business began to grow, we moved into a commercial kitchen, and now we are manufacturing our products in a USDA-inspected human-food facility.
PB: How does your whole-food approach to nutrition set you apart from other pet food companies?
Kuris-Morgan: Most pet food companies use synthetic vitamins to supplement the food. Unfortunately, most synthetic vitamins sold in the USA are produced in China, and many are preserved with ethoxyquin.
At Frenchie’s Kitchen, the vitamins and minerals in our products come from the food itself. For example, carrots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and fiber. They are considered the “root of all natural healing power.” Carotene boosts the immune system, improves eyesight, heals wounds and cleanses the liver. Green beans are a source of dietary fiber loaded with vitamins and minerals. They contain over 10 minerals needed for proper bone health, blood vessel stability and nerve function. Spinach is a rich source of iron and extremely rich in antioxidants and other vitamins. As you can see, there is a reason behind each ingredient included in our recipes. Our ingredient deck is clean, simple and easy to understand. There isn’t anything on the ingredient panel that you cannot pronounce, and we are very proud of that.
Also, all of our products are frozen, so we do not have to use any preservatives.
PB: What are some of the other ways in which your products stand out in the marketplace?
Kuris-Morgan: Our products stand out in the marketplace because they are the true definition of “all natural.” We do not add any flavorings or synthetic or processed ingredients; everything comes from the food itself. We don’t even add salt.
Most importantly, our products stand out because they are human grade and made in the USA—two more reasons Frenchie’s Kitchen remain a leader of the pack when it comes to product quality and innovation.
PB: What is your opinion of the pet nutrition category overall? What are the major challenges and opportunities facing pet stores in this category today?
Kuris-Morgan: This is an exciting time to be in the pet food industry. It has made some big changes in the last five years and will continue to move ahead with companies that are challenging the old standards and creating new ones.
As with all food products, the most important factor at the retail counter is a well-educated consumer. The trend across the USA is for more families to not only improve the quality of the food in their own diets, but taking this a step further to include similar high-quality ingredients in their four-legged family member’s diet. This education process begins with the distributors and retailers asking lots of questions regarding ingredients, sourcing and manufacturing processes to better understand the products they are selling. At Frenchie’s Kitchen, we cater to a very educated retailer and customer.
As the consumer becomes more educated, they begin to demand transparency and truth in labeling on pet food products. They are finally waking up to the influence of misleading advertising.