Pet Business: Beefeaters recently revamped its logo and packaging. How does the new look convey the company’s core values and philosophies?
Dean Triandafellos: We are focused on simply offering the best treats, supplements and wellness products to make a dog’s life more enjoyable each day. Our mission statement is simple: We make dog’s tails wag! Dogs are our inspiration to constantly produce high quality products, using only the best ingredients. We know that a happy dog is a healthy dog and strive to produce a treat that not only tastes great, but is wholesome as well. We tried to convey this message through the look of our well-recognized chef [mascot]. We also highlighted the Beefeaters and Nutri-Vet brands, which have earned respect and recognition with over 40-plus combined years of making dogs happy.
PB: How does Beefeaters ensure the quality and safety of its treats?
Triandafellos: The quality of a product starts with the single ingredients and raw materials. We have never skimped when it comes to procuring ingredients for our treats and supplements. We use only natural ingredients and never use any artificial colors or flavors, nor do we use any preservatives or additives. Following strict control procedures ensures safety. Testing is done throughout each manufacturing step, from ingredient traceability to final product testing. Quality and palatability are key, but we also have testing processes in place at all levels of production from raw, to execution, to final product testing. We have a large budget just for testing, whether it is microbiological or palatability studies, and we know that the quality of our products is what gained us our reputation of being the best, but we are continuing to focus on producing a safe treat. All external facilities under go a rigorous third-party auditing validation process before production even begins. The final QC testing is done at our facilities in Idaho and New Jersey.
PB: What are the latest trends on the market right now? How is Beefeaters responding to these trends?
Triandafellos: We try to focus on low-count ingredient panels. Consumers don’t want to be confused with complicated ingredients in the treats they are feeding their dogs. We produce products like pure sweet potato, chicken meat, freeze-dried liver, salmon and shrimp. Also, it’s important to keep the natural shapes of items. Consumers are focused on minimally processed treats, and it’s now OK to have a natural looking product. [Consumers] are also looking for enhanced treats to give their dogs, something that can be highly palatable while delivering an efficacious dosage of supplements. We are using our expertise in both divisions—Beefeaters and Nutri-Vet—to innovate new, natural ways to give the dog owner a larger variety of beneficial treats.
PB: What should retailers look for in creating an assortment of treats and chews in their stores?
Triandafellos: The biggest challenge to the retailer is how to merchandise treat and chew sections. There are several ways to organize the sets–by chew time, for example. Quick chew treats that are highly palatable can be used as rewards like our freeze-dried liver line, and at the other end of the spectrum we have our “baby sitters” occupying chews that can take hours to work through like natural bones, rawhide rolls and pizzles. They can also be merchandised by size of dog or breed. No matter which category organization is chosen, the result will be more effective then just placing treats and chews up on the wall.
PB: What does the future hold for this category, and what can we expect from Beefeaters?
Triandafellos: The future in chews and treats is very bright. The treat plan-o-grams are some of the fastest growing sections at retail today. You can look for more natural treats making their way onto the shelf along with non-protein meat options. More specific call outs like organic and gluten free are growing fast, but still remain a smaller part of the natural market.
We continue to put a tremendous amount of resources into RD and product innovation. We work with a skilled team of veterinarians and nutrition experts so all of our products are made with a dog’s health in mind, but we also keep in mind this is a fun category and pet parents should have neat new options to treat their dogs. Our quality and innovation will continue to fuel our success in the chews and treat category.