Joe Wallington, president and CEO of Jones Naturals, discusses the company’s carefully developed strategy for ensuring success among independent and pet specialty retailers.
Last year, Jones Naturals announced a new multi-channel approach that focuses on unique branding for pet specialty, farm and feed, and FDM retailers. Why is this type of approach important in today’s crowded pet care market? Indy pet, pet specialty and farm/feed have historically been—and will continue to be—a big part of our business. We feel a three-brand approach helps insulate Jones Natural Chews, so we can continue to receive excellent support from these important channels. Our other two brands (The Country Butcher and Grass Valley Farm), will allow us to exceed our aggressive growth goals while protecting Jones Naturals Chews in the channels that really helped make Jones Naturals what it is today.
Can you provide some details about Jones Naturals’ various brands and how they are tailored for specific retail channels? The Country Butcher and Grass Valley Farm brands have less variety in the SKU offering based on the fact that the F/D/M and dollar channels are not as well developed in the chew/treat segment of the business. The non-Jones Natural Chews brands have the same high quality as our core lines. We will offer some unique display vehicles for these other channels that are more relevant to their respective in-store merchandising strategies.
What are some of the attributes that make the Jones Select limited-ingredient treats that were introduced at Global Pet Expo stand out? Jones Select is a new line of limited ingredient natural treats including nutritional blends (salmon, duck, chicken and beef) with cranberry and blueberry inclusions, USDA-certified organic turkey and sweet potato, chicken with brown rice, alligator, pheasant and wild boar exotic proteins, and a chicken and beef training treat. All are manufactured with 100 percent USA-raised and -sourced meat and natural ingredients.
The Jones Select packaging looks clean and upscale. We really played up our USA sourcing and -year history of manufacturing treats and chews on the bag. The metalure ink really makes the main ingredient pop to help consumers quickly find what they are looking for.
We expect the new Jones Select line to be a home run for our indy pet and pet specialty partners. Super premium inclusions, exotic proteins, organic recipes and training treats are rapidly growing, especially in the pet specialty channel.
Why is sourcing and making products in the USA important to Jones Naturals? Why should it be important to retailers? USA-sourced and -made is becoming a much more important factor in consumer buying decisions after several instances with product quality and recall issues from some manufactures that import their chews and treats. The 2017 second-half Packaged Facts report showed that consumers rank USA-sourced and -made as a top consideration in their decision criteria for treat purchases. In addition to our USA point of difference, we also have the highest fill rates in the industry at over 98 percent. This is especially rare given all of the types of animal meats we have to source to produce our products. We are also SQF certified, which gives customers who buy our products peace of mind in knowing this minimizes the likelihood of any product recalls or other quality issues. Lastly, we have many unique items because we invest heavily on new innovation so consumers have a steady stream of new treats and chews to try out with their pets.
What does the future hold for Jones Naturals? You will see Jones Naturals rapidly expand our footprint in all channels with our three-brand strategy while protecting the JNC brand in indy/pet specialty and farm store channels. In addition, we will accelerate our innovation focus, as new items are critical to the growth of the treat segment. For the JNC brand, we will focus heavily on our SEO keyword search rankings in an effort to send consumers to our retail partners in store and online for those brick-and-mortar partners that are BC capable. Since Jones Naturals protects the JNC brand for pet specialty, combined with the Jones equity and quality, we will be a great growth and profit contributor for our retail partners. PB