Vetscience is shaking up the canine nutrition segment with its Fruitables line of natural weight-management and digestive health products.
Historically, when someone talked about feeding the family dog, fruits and vegetables rarely entered the conversation. But the nutrition experts at Vetscience LLC are helping to change all that.
According to company president David DeLorenzo, five years ago the Vetscience’s world-class veterinarians and Ph.D.’s were among the pioneers in studying the efficacy of pumpkin and sweet potato as a pet feed ingredient. “With over three years of clinical research at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, major patent-pending discoveries were made in the areas of ‘natural’ weight management and digestive health,” he says.
In early 2008, the company set out to commercialize the products that resulted from this research, and the Fruitables Pet Foods brand was born.
“A lot of people ask about the Fruitables name,” say DeLorenzo. “It’s derived from the fact that pumpkin is technically a fruit in botany, but a vegetable in culinary terms...so it had to be Fruitables.”
Vetscience’s initial offerings under the Fruitables brand were a pair of food supplements (one for weight loss and another for digestive support), as well as a range of oven-baked treats. All of these products centered, not only on the nutritional benefits of pumpkin and sweet potatoes, but providing pet owners with a unique sales proposition on several fronts.
“Our mission remains leveraging these amazing natural ingredients to help solve obesity and digestive issues,” says DeLorenzo. “However, the Fruitables brand was created to provide a truly amazing sensory experience for both pet and pet parent with ‘fresh-ingredient’ products that stand out in every way (visual appeal, aroma, taste, nutrition, treat design, color, and texture). We want all Fruitables customers to have the same reaction... ‘Wow!’”
DeLorenzo says that Vetscience is deeply committed to the “wow” factor for pet and pet parents alike, to create pull-through demand. “We realize the retail trade needs resources to do this,” he says. “Adding to our innovative product introductions, distributor and retail promotion programs and collateral material, we support a number of events and programs with retailers, rescue organizations and shelters to make a direct connection with pet parents.”
The company president says that retailers can expect to see Vetscience go even further in helping them to create that “wow” factor in their stores. “We’re in the process of redesigning a lot of our point-of-sale materials–window clings, shelf-talkers, banners-and we’re getting ready to launch a counter display unit,” he says. “We understand that treats are often an impulse purchase, so we want to make sure that we provide retailers with ample opportunity to capitalize on that impulse at the point of sale.”
In addition to enhancing its marketing efforts, Vetscience remains hard at work in developing new products to add to its unique lineup. “We continue to invest significant time, energy and money in university research and are building a pipeline of natural food innovation,” says DeLorenzo. He adds that the company plans to launch its largest expansion to date into in the chewy treat category.
“We’re going to use some ingredients that haven’t been used in chewy treats before,” he says, noting that these products will also likely be gluten-free.
DeLorenzo also says that the company is exploring plans for a full line of condition-specific premium natural products launched under the Vetscience brand.