The Fromm Family Tradition
Bryan Nieman, brand director for Fromm Family Foods, discusses the company’s growth, as well as its commitment to its community and independent pet retailers.
Pet Business: Last year, Fromm Family Foods opened a cannery in Eden, Wis. What drove the company to invest in this new facility? How has it impacted your manufacturing capabilities?
Bryan Nieman: Being fifth-generation family-owned-and-operated is a great source of pride for us. The ability to produce our family recipes in our family facilities grants us full control over the quality of the product from start to finish and allows us to innovate more efficiently.
We’ve always made our own dry foods, and one of our long-term goals had been to one day own and operate a cannery to ensure that same level of control with our canned offerings. The cannery has allowed us to expand our manufacturing capabilities and allow for quicker product innovation. Eden will provide us the ability to continue to grow our line of canned entrées for years to come.
PB: Has the opening of the facility led to the creation of any new products or product lines? If so, what are the key features of these new offerings?
Nieman: The opening of our canning facility has allowed us to expand our offerings of popular canned product lines like our Four-Star Nutritionals shredded entrées for dogs, as well as launch our new line of Fromm cans that include new pâté recipes for dogs and cats. This month, we launched one new cat pâté recipe and five new dog pâté recipes and have more planned to debut shortly before the first of the year.
PB: What are some of the other latest and greatest new products from Fromm Family Foods? What makes these products stand out in the marketplace?
Nieman: New Fromm canned entrées for dogs include savory combinations like Venison & Lentil Pâté, Turkey, Duck & Sweet Potato Pâté and Whitefish & Lentil Pâté. Last month, we also began shipping Fromm Turkey & Duck pâté for cats.
At our Columbus, Wis., facility, we continue to craft new dry recipes for dog and cats. This spring, we debuted Four-Star Nutritionals Chicken au Frommage in recipes for dogs and cats. Ownership of both our dry and can facilities allows us to dream big and be completely hands-on through all stages of research and development through production.
With artistic packaging and fun names like Chicken au Frommage, our products naturally stand out on the shelf, but it is our retailers’ ability to tell our family story and amplify the passion we have for creating and producing our own product that have the greatest impact on our brand standing out in the marketplace as a whole.
PB: In 2014, Fromm partnered with Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. to create the Fromm Petfest, which has become an annual event. Can you tell us a bit about the event and what inspired its creation?
Nieman: Milwaukee is often referred to as the “city of festivals.” Growing up, I have so many fond memories of music and ethnic festivals, but the one thing that was always missing was the ability to bring our pets.
Our family shares an overall belief in doing good for the industry and the community in which we live. We saw an opportunity to bring a festival for the entire family—those with and without fur—to our beautiful Lake Michigan lakefront. Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. has been an excellent partner and their festival grounds are truly world-class.
The result in three short years is unbelievable growth and support from Milwaukee and surrounding communities. Last year, we drew more than 10,000 people and 3,600 pets to the festival, and we expect even larger numbers this year. People are able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, treat their dogs to activities like dock diving, lure and agility courses and enjoy food, music, entertainment, shopping and more. It’s something we hope becomes a tradition for pet lovers in Wisconsin.
PB: At SuperZoo, Fromm debuted a video about the importance of neighborhood pet shops, which can be found on the company website. From your point of view, what makes these businesses vital to their local communities? What made you decide to convey this in a video?
Nieman: Neighborhood and specialty pet retailers are incredibly vital to the pet industry and our local communities. They are often trendsetters and market makers and have an acute understanding of their customer base and the brands they choose to sell. They offer an intimate buying experience for shoppers and often serve as a sounding board and hands-on resource for the customers.
For generations, we’ve been dedicated to the independent retailer, and their dedication to our brand has helped us to grow to where we are today. This dedication is unwavering and we are more committed than ever to the pet specialty category. I chose to debut the messaging in a video due to its unique ability to strike a chord with interviews of real people in real places speaking from the heart.
PB: What does the future hold for Fromm Family Foods?
Nieman: My brother Dan and I are excited to carry on our family’s tradition of quiet innovation with our dad. We have plenty of new product ideas to carry us into the future, and with the backing of our loyal retailers and our loyal customer base, we look forward to expanding our manufacturing capabilities to meet the demand for our artisan products. PB