Petfood Industry (PI) asked Carol Jones-Adams, who founded and runs functional treat maker Overby Farm with her husband and business partner, Bob Adams, to tell us more about her company.
Petfood Industry (PI):You have the
story behind how Overby Farm started
on your website; can you please describe in a little more detail what inspired
you to start the company? Has your philosophy or direction changed since?
Carol Jones-Adams (CJA): Our basic experience in our own family that found
relief from arthritis and gout through cherry concentrate is what got the ball
rolling. Working with our research university (Michigan State University that patented
their anti-inflammatory discovery in tart cherries really helped us. Working
with veterinarians and our own desire to produce something beneficial to our
pets was the “aha” that began it all in 2004.
PI: What new brands, products or packaging have you
introduced in the past 12 months? Can you provide information on how they are
doing in the market to date?
CJA: We have
been doing much research and development the last 12 months with the focus on taking
wheat out of our baked biscuit recipe – Hip Bones. We are also focused on
adding a Veggie Bones line and packaging our Hip Flex and Hip Flex Feline
products in bottles (as well as the pouches). We are lining all of this up for
introduction in 2011.
PI: What are your company’s opportunities and keys to
growth? Do you anticipate further growth or expansion into new types of
and hip health in the aging population is still our core value as we expand in
the US. We see growth in addressing several biological issues related to aging
pets by the use of fruit and nutritional bioactive ingredients.
PI: Besides your focus on natural joint health, what
would you say sets your company apart from the competition? Is there anything
else you strive to be known for?
story of phytonutrient actives is really our dominant theme in our
formulations. The story of functional nutrients for the senior and active pet
will be the undercurrent in all our future offerings.Protecting the formula
bio-actives for bio-availability in our pets is a science/art we continue to
improve by working with our university and veterinary experts.
PI: Please provide sales estimates for the past year
or current year to date—or a comment on sales trends.
CJA: We’re a
private company. Our sales continue to grow as people get to know about
us. We have done no advertising or
promotion to speak of – relying mostly on word of mouth – and still expect to
exceed US$1 million in retail sales in the US alone over the next year. The
economy slowed our growth somewhat in 2009, but the trend is still positive.
PI: What are some of your most difficult challenges?
In other words, what keeps you awake at night?
flow! We want to do a lot more a lot faster! We also keep a close eye on
continuously reviewing our ingredient decks and improving processing parameters
to ensure the highest retention of actives in our formulations.
PI: Were you affected by the 2007 petfood recalls and,
if so, how?
directly. Our surveillance and quality plans have stepped up and this wake-up
call was good for our industry.
PI: How would you evaluate the current state of the
petfood industry? What do you think are the biggest issues facing it?
CJA: We did
not grow up in this industry, so it is refreshing and full of great individuals.
International markets will be huge growth accelerators.
In our niche, regulation and
claims are under constant surveillance – a necessary aspect of any industry and
welcomed for the safety of our pets. Just like in human food offerings, health
through better nutrition is critical for our animals, and we are committed as a
company to this belief, which keeps us continuously researching the most
effective ingredient, processing and packaging combinations for health. Much of
what we learn regarding how diet can help the body heal itself are discoveries
that we are unable to advertise and talk about due to the regulatory
environment, albeit well-intentioned and necessary. To that end, it is more
important than ever that consumers continue to educate themselves about ingredients
and bio-availability so that they really understand what is in their food and
their pet’s food!
PI: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our
readers about your company?
CJA: Yes, we
appreciate Petfood Industry stepping
to the plate to tell stories of concern and interest! Keep buying our products
and we’ll keep introducing new innovative formulations for our companion
animals. It’s the cherries!
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