Pet Insight spoke with Gary Pfeiffer of Superior Farms Pet Provisions to discuss what influenced him to work in the pet industry, how Superior Farms Pet Provisions differentiates from competitors and some of the top challenges facing the pet industry.
PI: What influenced you to work in the pet industry?
GP: I’ve been with Superior Farms for about 17 years. During that time, on the lamb side of business, we’ve seen a lot of our products going through various pet food and pet treat channels. We’ve observed that for a lot of years and we’ve supplied a lot of the major brands out there with lamb products. Several years ago, and I’ve got two dogs of my own, I came to that realization the pet industry is pretty exciting. We have the ability to source some really great ingredients for pet treats, and we decided to start up a business of manufacturing pet treats and chews for the specialty pet industry. At the same time, a good friend of mine in New Zealand I worked with for a long time, had the same idea. His company produces lamb and venison in New Zealand. We put our heads together and came up with the idea of forming Superior Farms Pet Provisions. A high quality source of pet foods and chews, where we control every step of the process all the way from the farm through manufacturing, packaging and distribution of a really high quality, safe, source verified, natural pet treat or chew.
PI: What prompted you to work for Superior Farms Pet Provisions?
GP: Given I’d been in the food business my whole life and just really enjoyed the lamb protein and working in the industry. It’s a great company to work for and I went to work for them 17 years ago and came up through the company. It ‘s a company that encourages new ideas and concepts, and I had the opportunity to come up with the concept of a pet treat chew business. Superior Farms backed it and helped us form Superior Farms Pet Provisions as an off-shoot of Superior Farms.
PI: How does Superior Farms Pet Provisions differentiate from competitors?
GP: The primary thing is we have complete control over our products – from sourcing, manufacturing to distribution. Coming from the food industry, we’re very serious about food safety and product quality. The ingredients for our pet treats and chews come from our own facilities both here and our partner’s facility in New Zealand. We do all the cooking, the quality control and packaging are all in our own
plants and facilities so we have complete oversight over every step of the way. I can sleep very well at night knowing we made every effort to produce a safe and wholesome product for our customers’ pets.
PI: Who do you view as Superior Farms Pet Provisions’ primary competition?
GP: There’s certainly some great companies out there but right now our primary competition are other new companies that do natural treats and chews that already do a great job in the marketplace. We think we have a bit more to offer with our products, variety and the quality of our products.
PI: How does the company’s structure provide advantages over competitors?
GP: The fact that we’re vertically integrated all the way from sourcing the livestock
production, manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Essentially every step of the process is under one business structure.
PI: Does Superior Farms Pet Provisions have a stronger presence in some
regions more so than other regions? How is Superior Farms Pet Provisions addressing this?
GP: On the pet side, we’ve only been doing business about a year and a half now, and we do have terrific distribution. Interestingly enough, probably our strongest representation is in the Northwest, and we’ve had a really great acceptance in the greater Seattle area. At the same time we have full distribution throughout the country, and we’re expanding everyday and are really excited about our
PI: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the overall pet industry?
GP: Certainly people are very concerned about the source origins of their products, along with safe manufacturing practices. So those are certainly big challenges within the industry. From there, the next set of challenges is spreading the message about the quality of our products and what’s important to the pets.
PI: How does Superior Farms Pet Provisions work with retailers?
GP: Well certainly we’re there to provide information and support. We look to continually expand our product lines with comparable, safe products to our base line of items. We work with retailers by providing marketing support, as well as continued product innovation and expansion of our product line to be a valuable partner to them in the long run.
PI: Which types of retailers do you prefer to work with?
GP: Due to the high quality nature of our product, we appreciate working with the specialty pet retail channel that understand what our products are about and that can help communicate the benefits of our product to the pet consumer.