Pet Insight spoke with John Gigliotti of Whole Life Pet Products about how the company is meeting consumers’ rising demands of dog treats. Additionally, Gigliotti addressed pet owners’ increasing diligence and its impact on the overall treat category along with trust and transparency being key to bolstering partnerships.
How is Whole Life Pet Products addressing consumers’ demands for cleaner, healthier dog treats?
We define ‘clean’ in several ways. First, simplicity and choice of ingredients and second, void of anything artificial. Third, clean means ‘transparent’ at Whole Life. If you want to know where we buy an ingredient, just go to our website and check. We will tell you. This is not a new trend for Whole Life Pet, or reaction to something new in the industry. We created the concept of single ingredient freeze dried treats containing nothing artificial and sourced from 100 percent human grade ingredients. We created the idea of being transparent. Our treats are the definition of the word clean because that’s what pets deserve and what pet parents want to provide.
How does your company determine which ingredients to use?
In this order of priority, we choose ingredients based on their human grade quality and safety, on being species appropriate and on having functional benefits for dogs and cats.
Why is this focus on offering pets increasingly nutritious and clean diets so important to pet owners?
Offering clean products is necessary due to the recklessness that exists in the pet industry. Any company can have a problem with safety, but when you start seeing the same companies having recalls over and over again, you really need to question their integrity. The focus on clean products increasing is due to the fact that safety problems are increasing. Consumers read labels and are concerned about what they can’t see on the label, so having clean labels creates more faith in the product and makes it easier for a consumer to feel safe about what they are feeding.
What have been effective methods retailers have used to educate consumers about treat safety and how your company is ensuring treats are safe for pets?
Retailers need to find out what the companies making the products they sell are doing about safety. It’s not something that can be ignored. At Whole Life, we have a very long list of things we do on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our treats. Here are the highlights – We use human grade ingredients sourced only in the USA. Second, we make our own treats. The importance of this cannot be overstated. If a company outsources the manufacturing, there is no way they can control the safety of their products. It is 100 percent impossible. We made a massive investment in building our own manufacturing facility so that we could control the quality and safety of our products. If I want to check on production, I don’t need to get in my car or jump on a plan to China. I just need to walk out of my office, down the stairs and view our production line. Third, we quarantine every batch of treats we make every day and have an independent lab test each batch for harmful bacteria. Once each batch is clear, it then gets put into production. We make the actual lab results available on our website for consumers to view. This amount of effort takes time and is very costly, but safety is a core value at Whole Life and cannot be compromised.
How does Whole Life Pet Products strengthen trust amongst retailers and consumers when it comes to ensuring your treats are safe?
Trust is based on one simple idea-transparency. We put everything you would want to know about our company right on our website and we are available and willing to answer any questions about our products. I have my own personal email address on our website contact page and get questions from consumers daily and I take the time to response. Communication is key. If I was a retailer, I would call every company who made products I was selling. I would act as a consumer and ask a few simple questions about quality and safety standards. If I didn’t like the answers, I wouldn’t sell the products.