The Honest Approach
Lucy Postins, founder and chief integrity officer of The Honest Kitchen, discusses her company’s commitment to supporting healthy pets and healthy independent pet stores.
Pet Business: Tell us about The Honest Kitchen’s approach to pet nutrition? What sets your foods apart from other products in the market?
Lucy Postins: The Honest Kitchen has a fairly unique approach to nutrition that’s rooted in common sense healthy eating philosophies and tethered to being 100 percent human grade. We’ve always chosen to make our foods in a human food production facility, not in a rendering plant, because we believe this is the best way to ensure the quality and integrity of our finished products.
PB: What are some of the latest and greatest products from The Honest Kitchen? What are the key features of these products?
Postins: We recently launched an expanded line of LID (Limited Ingredient Diet) recipes for dogs made with novel proteins like duck and fish, as well as ingredients like coconut, parsnips and navy beans. With just six unique whole food ingredients per recipe, they’re ideally suited for pets with multiple food sensitivities.
We’ve also worked closely with an ayurvedic practitioner—who has studied closely with the renowned Dr. Deepak Chopra—to create a line of instant bone broths for dogs and cats, inspired by ayurvedic health principles, along with an ayurvedic instant Golden Milk.
We also have some fun, limited edition holiday items for Fall/Winter 2017.
PB: In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, how does The Honest Kitchen achieve balance with its various channel partners?
Postins: We’re proud to have created a thoughtful channel strategy that’s grounded in a rigorously enforced MAP policy to ensure an even playing field for all our retailers. Our mission is to help as many pets as possible on the road to good health through good food, and we’re committed to that mission whilst also adhering to a sensitive channel strategy that balances our different unique retailers’ needs with a commitment to making sure our products are available in most of the places shoppers seek them.
We don’t allow our products to be sold in mass pet retailers. We have a refined product offering for natural specialty retailers, which was created following direct consultation with some of our most valued and trusted pet specialty partners.
PB: Beyond being a source of high-quality products, how does The Honest Kitchen contribute to the success of independent pet specialty retailers, specifically? What type of sales and marketing support does the company provide?
Postins: We have some extremely exciting brand-new innovations, which will be offered exclusively in the independent pet specialty channel. We also offer dedicated rep support exclusively in the pet specialty channel, along with a pet-specialty-only frequent-buyer program, exclusive promotions, in-store shipper displays, and a pet specialty staff feeder program.
PB: The Honest Kitchen takes pride in being a “green” company. What are some of the ways it goes about reducing its environmental “paw print?” How do these efforts dovetail with the company’s mission of contributing to the health of pets?
Postins: Being green and making a positive difference to pet health and wellbeing are directly linked in several ways. We use only non-GMO produce, organic grains and humanely raised meats, including wild-caught fish, pasture-raised chicken that’s never fed antibiotics and free-range turkey from Diestel Ranch. The attributes of these types of ingredients are naturally much healthier for the planet and the pets that eat our foods. Dehydration itself also uses a much lower temperature than conventional pet food production methods, which saves energy and maintains the natural goodness and phytonutrients in our healthy, whole-food ingredients.
PB: Last year, The Honest Kitchen was featured in magazines like Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes, all of which highlighted the company’s culture and commitment to providing pets with high-quality nutrition. What does this type of recognition mean to The Honest Kitchen team? Does coverage like this affect the company’s visibility with consumers?
Postins: We’re incredibly proud of this type of coverage, as well as being named to Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work list for the past six consecutive years, and these things make a direct positive impact on our whole team, as well as on consumers who support our growing brand.
PB: Tell us about Pawlanthropy, The Honest Kitchen’s charitable arm. What are some of the good works that the company is doing through the program?
Postins: We donate a portion of our profits to a different charity every single month through Pawlanthropy, as well as multiple different product donations throughout the course of the year to regional dog rescues, foster groups and shelters. Our Charity of the Month program means we can support a wide array of different organizations from humanitarian causes to wildlife conservation and pet-centric organizations. This year, a different member of our staff chooses our charity each month.
PB: What does the future hold for The Honest Kitchen?
Postins: We have some extremely exciting new innovations in the works. We plan to continue working hard to build brand awareness for our product line, helping people understand the direct positive impact that a healthy whole food diet can have on pet health. PB