What encouraged you to join the pet industry?
I have always had pets—so personally and for my family, this has always been an area of great passion. Before joining the pet industry 11 years ago, I worked in cause related marketing and corporate social responsibility, and it always fascinated me that pet related charities were among the most powerful. So, I have always known that the passion we have had for pets is widely shared. So for me, since I have devoted my career to corporate social responsibility and exploring how companies can make a difference in the community, the pet industry is one area where so many of us are in fact focused on making a difference for others. Since I have also focused much of my career in environmental sustainability, it’s so powerful to see the Pet Sustainability Coalition and others helping the environment together.
How does the overall pet industry compare to today from when you joined?
One amazing thing about the pet industry and especially about independent pet specialty retailers, is we are always trying to learn what is better and what is next for pets—how can we help more? So, I was very excited to join Nature’s Logic because it’s made with 100 percent natural food with no synthetic vitamins which I believe is part of what is next for pets. Nature’s Logic doesn’t say that using a synthetic vitamin pack in our food is bad—I grew up taking One a Day vitamins, but as I studied nutrition, I came to believe that One a Day vitamins are good, but if I could get all of my nutrition from food rather than synthetic vitamins, it’s even better.
The pet industry keeps evolving, changing and improving led by our independent pet specialty retailers, and we have been so excited that Nature’s Logic is now the fastest growing brand in independent pet specialty. We believe that is because pet specialty retailers are leading the charge in finding what is next and is what is better. Eleven years ago, we saw very little in the pet industry focused on sustainability, and that has really changed due to the Pet Sustainability Coalition and in particular with what we are doing with Nature’s Logic. For example, now we create one kilowatt of renewable electricity with every single pound of food we sell. Examples like that show how the industry is really moving toward sustainability.
What industry trends have caught your attention and how is Nature’s Logic addressing them?
The #1 trend is the continued, long-term rise of the LOHAS consumer (for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). Nielsen called 2018 “the year of the sustainable shopper” and it’s grown since: 73 percent of global consumers would change consumption habits to reduce environmental impact, almost half of US shoppers say they’ll change their habits to benefit the environment — and 83 percent of millennials say it’s extremely important to them that companies implement programs to improve the environment.
This consumer wants ever “more” natural, and Nature’s Logic has pioneered truly 100 percent all-natural diets in the industry, with no synthetic vitamins and minerals, getting all of the nutrition from food. Now Nature’s Logic is specifically targeting this consumer, and is moving to 100 percent natural energy by creating 1 kWh of renewable energy with every pound we sell. We’re also proud our Nature’s Logic Distinction line boasts the industry’s very first Certified Plastic Neutral packaging, and is created with renewable electricity.
How is Nature’s Logic setting itself apart from competitors within the industry?
During the pandemic crisis, Nature’s Logic has been first and foremost focused on helping our retailers have the inventory they need so that our precious pets get the food they need. At the same time, we are helping independent retailers spread the word about delivery services and curbside pickup. Our social media is largely focused right now on telling consumers to talk to their pet specialty retailer because they can likely delivery or have curbside pickup as an option.
Further, we have social postings that if you can’t find your favorite pet food, then we show you how to find an alternative. For example, pick another protein within the same brand or find a similar high-quality brand, but perhaps most importantly, ask a pet specialty retailer for advice because they will steer you in the right direction.
Lastly, we are devoting resources to helping independent pet specialty retailers surprise and delight their new home delivery customers. We have heard retailers talking about as much as 10 times the amount of home delivery, which is a great thing for the industry. So, we are giving away products to our retailers so they can give them to new customers delivery or curbside, so those customers will have an exemplary experience and not look elsewhere.
During the pandemic, we are so deeply appreciative of the frontline workers who are risking their personal safety to feed our pets. We just couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative and just as a tiny token we are about to send out T-shirts to our retailers and folks on our production lines that say “Essential Services Hero”.
Most importantly, Nature’s Logic is creating truly 100 percent natural diets with no synthetic diets which means all of the nutrients come from food and not vitamin packs. At the same time, Nature’s Logic is focused on its new mission to apply the logic of nature to everything we touch, and our better food, better energy program creates 100 percent renewable electricity with every single bag we produce.
Who was your biggest advocate and supporter?
I’ve been blessed with multiple inspiring mentors — more than I could name here. Early on, it was my parents’ entrepreneurial spirit (selling socks in flea markets) that taught me about business and put me through college. Then it was socially responsible business legends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield who convinced me I could help make the world a better place by selling great products.
More recently, industry giant Steve Marton of VisioCap has taught me more about the pet world than anyone, while inspiring me to keep getting better. Lastly, I credit Liz Baker of GreaterGood.org and Caitlyn Bolton Dudas of the Pet Sustainability Coalition for inspiring me daily to see just how huge a positive impact our industry can have, if we work together.