Trusting in the Truth




Pet parents, and consumers in general, are becoming more connected by the day. On top of that, shoppers are more concerned about where their pet food is coming from, what goes into making it and how it will affect their pets. As consumers become more connected via computers and mobile devices, they are increasingly finding information about the food they purchase on the internet. Pet food manufacturers need to be transparent about their products to stay ahead of misinformation.


During a session at Pet Food Forum in Kansas City, Mo. this past week, Larine Urbina, VP of communications for Tetra Pak U.S. & Canada, discussed the behavior of the connected consumer. While 80 percent of connected consumers rely on a brand’s website for information about a product, 68 percent utilize information from reviews and comments as well. These could be found on a company’s website, a third-party seller or someone’s personal blog.


If pet parents aren’t finding the information they are looking for on a brand’s website, they are going to rely on information they find elsewhere. This means that the influencers and bloggers of the world have control over disseminating information about products, and consumers are trusting that it’s true.


“We believe that we can go to Google and put in a question and we get an answer, that it should be right,” said Henriette Bylling, CEO and owner of Aller Petfood Group during another informational session at Pet Food Forum.


Bylling further explained during her session that lack of transparency from pet food manufacturers results in leaving influencers to their own devices, and increases the likelihood that Google will lead pet parents to incorrect or biased information.


Pet food manufacturers can get ahead of this problem by being direct and transparent about their products. That means not only being honest about the ingredients and practices that go into producing pet food, but also creating a general and agreed-upon understanding of what the buzzwords used in marketing actually mean.


As Bylling noted, if the pet industry can’t agree on common definitions of terms like holistic or natural, how can we as an industry expect pet parents to know what they mean?


The pet industry as a whole needs to come together to be more transparent in order to educate pet parents, as well as influencers, to gain a foothold in the transfer of information. More transparency will allow consumers to learn more about the brands they purchase and make more informed decisions.


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