Made with Pride
While it is still a relatively young company, Pack 'n Pride has quickly learned what it takes to be successful in the highly competitive dog treat category.
Rick Geller’s background is in law and finance, but in the few years he has been involved with the pet industry, he has quickly developed an understanding of what is needed to make his products stand out with consumers and their dogs.
To make his product unique and catch a finicky consumers’ fancy, Geller and his team at New York-based Vital Source, the makers of Pack ‘N Pride dog treats, have taken extensive measures to give his brand a step up in the very crowded and competitive dog-treat segment.
“Our goal is simply to bring something better to the table for consumers in the dog treat category,” says Geller, who serves as CEO of the company. “We want consumers to understand that our products are safe, healthy and affordable. We want them to feel good about what we offer. Dogs want meat-based products as a treat. So, it’s our job to get them the best ingredients in those products.”
Started in 2012, the fledgling company has already marketed four different lines of products encompassing 45 SKUs—all designed to meet the demanding needs of consumers who want their dogs to have a wide variety of tasty, nutritious pet treats. The four lines include the All-Meat Treat, made of all-natural antibiotic-free chicken, duck and pork; Nutri Nosh, a pairing of fruits and vegetables with all-natural chicken breast; Chews, a natural animal-protein chew designed to help keep teeth clean; and Handmade Treats.
The products range in price from about $6 for a bag to between $15 and $20 for a container—price points that Geller says are half the cost of premium freeze-dried dog treats brands, yet high enough to gain strong profits for retailers.
“We place a lot of pride in the fact that all of our products contain limited ingredients,” Geller says. “We know that it is very easy to make a dog treat, but many of those products are not good for the dog because they contain a lot of fillers. Now, consumers want all-natural products with safe ingredients. Our products are made with 100-percent pure meat, and there are no fillers in there.”
Pack ‘N Pride products are sourced in China, Geller says, but he adds that the difference between his company and many others is that Pack ‘N Pride, including its partners in China, have complete control over the production of the products. “We pay very close attention to the manufacturing process, even in China, because we have people over there that are directly involved with the company,” he notes. “We test our products before we ship them over here.”
Thus far, the strategy seems to be working. Geller says that Pack ‘n Pride products are already in about 350 stores across the country, and the company is adding as many as 30 to 40 new stores every month. The message, he says, is getting out there to consumers, and retailers are quickly getting on board.
Also helping sales growth is the emphasis that the company places on packaging. Geller says that his team realized from the start how important it is to make the Pack ‘n Pride brand stand out on crowded store shelves. “We offer customized jars that definitely stand out,” he says. “The packaging itself is designed to create a unique brand that emphasizes what is inside the package or container, and makes consumers notice.”
Pack ‘n Pride also supports its products with a rack display that is designed to catch the consumers’ attention, samples and shelf talkers. Geller says that the company is also involved in online promotions and is active on Facebook.
“We are just trying to get the word out,” he explains. “Once we get consumers to try the product and see the ingredients, we are confident they will keep coming back. The fact that their dogs will love it will not hurt either.”
Now that the dog brands are gaining a foothold with retailers and consumers, Geller thinks that it may be the right time to start thinking about adding more products to the line. Next up, he says, could be a line of all-meat cat treats. More items could also be on the way in the near future. He plans to put more emphasis on point-of-sale materials in the next year, as well, to help consumers identify the product on store shelves.
“The pet industry is a very exciting place to be,” he says. “My background in law and finance gives me a different perspective on the industry, and I think it allows me to see the value of this industry. I see how important it is to partner up to grow a business. This is definitely a partnership between us and our retailers that, in the end, should work out well for all of us.”