Making Healthy Treats a Tradition
Hillside Farms is meeting the growing demand for healthy, wholesome dog treats with its natural products.
Whether it’s as a reward or just as a snack, pet parents are looking to give their dogs treats that are all-natural, healthy and tasty. As consumers seek out products that meet these demands, Hillside Farms strives to provide pet owners with the answers they’re looking for.
“Consumers are educating themselves and seeking treats their dogs love and, more importantly, that are a safe and healthy component of their daily lives,” says Steve King, vice president of sales and marketing for Hillside Farms.
The Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer puts an emphasis on wholesome, natural ingredients. With more than 14 years of experience in producing premium treats, the family-owned company prides itself on never having had a product recall. According to King, the company has sold more than a billion treats in the U.S.
He adds that Hillside Farms offers direct-to-retailer shipping anywhere in the U.S. from the company’s Southern California factory, with short lead times and manageable order minimums.
Under its Farmlands Traditions brand, the company offers its Dogs Heart jerky treats. Designed to be a healthier alternative to traditional dog biscuits, the limited-ingredient snacks are free from fillers, such as grain, soy, corn, wheat and gluten. Meant to be enjoyed by canines of all sizes, the treats are also made in the USA and use domestically-sourced ingredients.
The brand’s first flavor was Dogs Heart Chicken, but it has expanded its product portfolio to include four other highly palatable proteins: Dogs Heart Beef, Dogs Heart Pork, Dogs Heart Turkey and Sweet Potato, and Dogs Heart Duck and Carrot. Over 95 percent of each treat is made from premium proteins and vegetables.
Hillside Farms also manufactures the Authentics Chicken Jerky treat. The low-fat, low-calorie snack is made from 100 percent U.S.-raised chicken breast and is also manufactured in the U.S.
“Our jerky treats are packed with protein and deliver the product quality, safety and clean-label attributes that dog owners love,” adds King.
Hillside Farms also has an eponymous brand that includes Chicken Jerky, Duck Jerky, Jerky Wraps and Jerky Twists. Made with natural ingredients, the treats do not contain fillers like soy and grains, or sugar. They also do not include animal by-products or artificial colors and flavors.
The treats are made from a simple process that involves mixing lean meat with vegetable glycerin and salt before slicing and drying it. With the Jerky Wraps, the meat is wrapped around rawhide, while the Jerky Twists use the same method with sweet potato.
Hillside Farms also offers freeze-dried treats under its One Rewards brand. Designed for dogs of all ages, the treats are high in protein and low in fat. Two varieties are available: 100% Chicken Liver and 100% Chicken Breast. They do not contain grains, fillers or additives of any kind.
King recommends that retailers should pay attention to new trends in the canine treat category.
Meeting the Needs of Pet Owners
“We believe that identifying the evolving demands that pet parents have for their dog treats is of the utmost importance,” he says.
One of these demands is for premium, high-quality treats that pet owners can feel confident giving their dogs.
The company also serves as a resource to retailers and customers. Hillside Farms offers an informational section on its website that discusses the importance of protein in a canine’s diet. On each treat bag, there’s a phone number that can be used to contact the company about information such as ingredients, how the treats are made and where the product is made, as well as advice about pet feeding tips.
Hillside Farms also connects with customers through its active social media presence, especially with its Farmland Traditions Facebook page. The page includes fun polls that pet parents can answer about their dogs, posts about fun dog facts and contests where participants can win bags of treats.
At the end of the day, the most important connection for the company is the one between consumers and their pets. King believes that Hillside Farm’s treats can help pet owners relate to their dogs, particularly during playtime and training.
“Our treats are among the most palatable snacks pet parents can give their dog, enhancing the bond with their dogs,” says King. PB