Lucy Postins of The Honest Kitchen took time to discuss the company’s current offerings, recent past and upcoming offerings with Pet Insight.
Pet Insight: Who do you see as your major competition?
Lucy Postins: We have several other companies who have evolved in recent years within our direct category (what we refer to as ‘next generation’ pet foods – other dehydrated and freeze dried brands), but our focus is on drawing customers from kibble, and encouraging pet owners to ‘upgrade’ to a new way of feeding their pets.
PI: What new types of items, if any, will you begin producing this year?
LP: We’re launching a brand new instant goat’s milk with Probiotics, and re-launching our popular Ice Pups treats in convenient new single-serve pouch packaging, both of which will be available in May. Later this year, we’ll be launching some exciting new cat treats and a training treat for dogs. We have several other brand new food and meat treat products planned for the next 24 months, too!
PI: What would you say is your “flagship” product or line?
LP: Our foods are definitely the flagship products over all – Force and Keen are our two top sellers.
PI: How was The Honest Kitchen affected by the recession? What measures did you take to remain profitable?
LP: We didn’t see a terribly significant effect from the recession, and I think it’s because so many pet owners turned their focus to trying to save money in other areas such as vet bills, so they decided to actually invest in good quality food to help reduce the amount they were spending on prescriptions. Our annual benchmarking survey consistently shows that people who use Honest Kitchen products observe a reduction in various chronic ailments like itching, GI upset, ear problems and hot spots, just by transitioning to a whole food diet instead of heavily processed foods, which contain lots of filler and by-products.
PI: Are you satisfied with your company’s online/social media presence?
LP: Yes, we have a tremendous following on Facebook (more than 167,000 fans) and we’re really leveraging that with our new True Stories campaign, which is helping to bring our customers’ product reviews and testimonials to life with a user generated content that can be easily shared using various social media. It’s helping newcomers to the brand to understand the potential benefits of our foods, in a way that allows our customers to actually do the talking for us. And we’ll be evolving it into messaging and signage at the retailer level in the coming months too, as the content is built up.
PI: What types of retailers do you prefer working with?
LP: We are focused on working with independent pet specialty retailers; boutiques and smaller independent chains as well as holistic veterinarians. We don’t sell to big box discounters.