Palatable Health
Published: September 1, 2012
Jim Boyd, sales manager - North America for NoviPet Inc., discusses the state of the pet supplement market, as well as the company’s approach to making supplements healthy and appetizing.



Pet Business: How is the pet supplement category performing in pet stores? What is driving this performance?

Jim Boyd:
According to an industry report published by Packaged Facts, total U.S. retail sales of small animal (mainly dogs and cats) pet supplements and nutraceutical treats amounted to approximately $637 million in 2010. The figures represent an increase of 30 percent over the previous five years.

Joint and senior health products account for one-third of retail sales of dog supplements and one-fifth of sales of cat supplements. This is followed by multivitamin and mineral products (23 percent), and skin and coat supplements (22 percent).


PB: With so many pet supplements on the market, how should pet retailers go about building the right selection for their stores? What should they look for in a supplement supplier?

Boyd:
As the selection is very wide, more attention should be paid to the quality and identity of the supplement supplier. Retailers should ensure that the products they sell are clearly labeled, approved by the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) and are safe, easy to use and easy to chew. In short, products need to be safe, tasty, fresh and appealing. 


PB: What are the latest product trends in the supplement category? How can pet stores make the most of these trends?

Boyd:
Consumers are more aware now of issues such as ease of use and palatability. The evolution in consumer attitudes calls for evolution within the pet supplement industry itself. As the market matures, producers concentrate on finding ways to improve their customers’ experiences by making it as simple as possible for pet owners to provide their animals with the nutrition they need.

Pet stores should therefore focus on fully functional products that are sold as soft-chews and feed like treats. These supplements, which emphasize convenience, are highly palatable, easy to chew and easy to feed. These products are designed to give caregivers confidence and convenience while providing an enjoyable treat for their pets.


PB: NoviPet has announced that it will add dietary supplements for cats to its product lineup later this year. What are some of the differences between the dog supplement category and cat supplement category that retailers should understand?

Boyd:
The main difference between dog and cat supplements are that dietary supplements for cats are smaller and pay more attention to taste. Cats are much more sensitive to taste than dogs, therefore, cat products need to emphasize tastiness.

While most dog supplements address joint and mobility issues, cat supplements are used mainly to ease digestion problems such as eliminating hairballs stuck in the throat and stomach. Moreover, cats have some specific requirements for vitamins and nutrients in order to enable their living in a human environment. A cat category should contain some specific multivitamin supplements designed to support cats living in human proximity. 


PB: What is the company’s history? What separates NoviPet’s products from other pet supplements on the market?

Boyd:
NoviPet is an innovative developer of high-quality nutrition and health products for pets. Backed by over four decades of international experience, NoviPet was launched with one sole purpose: to make healthy supplements tasty and fun for dogs and cats, just like treats.

All of NoviPet’s supplements, which emphasize ease-of-use and freshness, are highly palatable, easy to administer and easy to chew. They are based on an innovative patent-pending “soft-chew” delivery system available in pharmaceutical-like blister packs to maintain optimal freshness. The blister pack also ensures that each soft-chew, with its consistent dosage, remains complete until given to the pet.

NoviPet’s supplements for cats are the only ones offering the entire recommended daily dosage in a single unit, unlike most supplements which require pet caregivers to provide their cat four to eight supplements a day.