Pride of the Treat Category
Rick Geller, president and CEO of Vital Source Group, discusses the innovative approach his company takes with its all-natural Pack â€˜N Pride dog treats.
Pet Business: Tell us about the history of Pack ‘N Pride. How and when did you start the company? What drove you to start the company? How has it evolved since it was founded?
Rick Geller: Pack ‘N Pride offers a new and innovative line of dog treats featuring all-natural chicken, duck and pork, which are antibiotic free, and contain no byproducts and no fillers—just the good stuff. Our focus is on healthy, safe and delicious treats that dogs will love and that will love them back.
We have four lines of treats: Our premium freeze-dried, all-meat line has Chick Chick Hooray, Get Ducky and Pork Please, all of which come in filets and nuggets. Our Nutri Nosh line features freeze-dried chicken, paired with either fruits or vegetables, including sweet potatoes, carrots, apples and bananas. Our new line of Bone-Afide Dental bones are the longest-chewing dental bone with the highest percentage of protein—a much more beneficial chew for teeth, gum and breath. Last, but not least, our Hand Made treat line is a lot of fun. It features Sushi Sensation with ocean white fish, Fish and Chicks twists, and Canine Comfort Food, which is chicken with biscuits, among other products.
Our inspiration came from the fact that all dogs love meat treats, but there is a limited variety to choose from. And, regardless of what brand of meat treat you buy, they all look the same—hard and plastic. In addition, the cost of some meat treats is outside the budget of many pet parents.
So, we set out to create the next generation of 100-percent-natural, safe and affordable treats that look, smell and taste like real meat should—and we have accomplished this goal. We also did not understand how dental bones can be good for a dog’s teeth if they contain starches and fillers, and are more like crackers than bones. So, we innovated our Bone-Afide Dental bones, which you need to see to believe.
PB: What makes Pack ‘N Pride treats stand out from the competition?
Geller: Our innovation, from packaging to product, is what sets us apart from other treat companies. We have two important patents that are significant to the pet treat industry. One is our patented freeze-dry cooking process, which makes our products look completely different than other meat treats on the market. Our patented freeze-dry process also produces more nutritious, highly digestible treats that look, smell and taste like real meat. On top of that, our patented freeze-dried products sell at prices comparable to hard-jerky products, a tremendous value we brought to our customers.
Our second patent is for our brand new Bone-Afide Dental bones. Because they are long lasting and contain a high level of protein—as high as 70 percent, all from natural animal protein—they are a more beneficial chew for teeth, gum and breath, and they provide an energy boost.
PB: With so much green washing going on today, how can retailers ensure that the treats they carry deliver on the promise of being all-natural?
Geller: The key is simple: ingredients. Stay away from treats that have ingredient lists that take up half of the packaging. All of our Pack ‘N Pride treats have simple ingredients, with the majority of them having just three or four ingredients.
PB: Product safety is a top-of-mind issue for pet owners and retailers. How does Pack ‘N Pride ensure that its products are safe and nutritious?
Geller: All of Pack ‘N Pride’s treats are made in the company’s U.S.-owned and managed state-of-the-art facilities, where quality control is upheld to the highest standards. Pack ‘N Pride’s commitment to quality, fun and safe treats is also evidenced by our testing of each batch of products, both before and after production, for melamine, salmonella, bacteria, traces of antibiotics and other contaminants. More importantly, upon arriving in the U.S., each batch is tested again by the renowned Silliker lab, and all test results for each batch of Pack ‘N Pride is posted on our website.
PB: What does the future hold for Pack ‘N Pride?
Geller: Pack ‘N Pride, over a very short period of time, has already established an industry wide reputation for bringing in the next generation of treats. A lot of retailers have come to us for innovative products that are safe, nutritious, easier to digest and affordable. We will continue this mission into the future. Put your seat belt on, the best is yet to come.