Like many pioneering petfood makers before her, Karen Scoggins first started researching pet diets and nutrition when her dog, Hunter, became suddenly ill in late 2006. Within weeks of his passing headlines around the world announced the largest petfood recall in history. "We dedicate every batch to Hunter and the thousands of pets and families affected," Scoggins says in her bio. "The more we studied and researched, the more horrified—and angry—we became." So, putting her plans of retiring from her corporate job and spending time on warm tropical beaches on hold, Karen and her husband and My Perfect Pet co-founder, Tom, instead found themselves driven to form a company that they say puts pet health over profits and focuses on educating pet owners on how to make better food choices for their pets.
Scoggins dedicated the next three years to research and development, working with nutritionists, veterinarians, breeders, pet stores and restaurant food suppliers to create the perfect blend of all-natural, fresh, restaurant-quality ingredients that provide maximum nutrition with the least processing and no harmful preservatives, she explains. By January 2010, My Perfect Pet had become not only what it says is the first frozen fresh petfood company in California, but it was enjoying the spotlight with the help of Unleashed by Petco, the pet superstore's smaller-format concept store. "Unleashed stores are focused on education, nutrition and care of animals," Petco explains in a press release. "Customers experience the same nutritional knowledge, animal consciousness and pet compassion of the parent brand in a smaller footprint store." Free samples of My Perfect Pet products were available for the grand opening of stores throughout California and then later were stocked on the shelves.
MPP made another splash with the introduction of its Party Bites treats for dogs, released November 2010. "Initially intended to be available only during the holiday season, Party Bites are made with fresh turkey, pumpkin, yams, cranberries, spinach, carrots and other holiday favorites that people can safely enjoy with their dogs," says Scoggins. "It has since become our highest selling treat and a permanent part of our product line. Party Bites are our most popular treat at events, at times people eating more than the dogs!"
With such great momentum driving the new petfood company forward, Scoggins and her team can count on future continued growth because of the reputation they have worked so tirelessly to build with their customers. "Pet owners see an immediate difference in their pet after switching to fresh, whole food," claims Scoggins. "Unsolicited testimonies report improvements in pet health: reduced allergy symptoms, tearing/staining disappearing around the eyes and mouth, digestive tract issues resolved and even the pickiest dogs love it!" The company even has one staff member who is currently eating nothing but My Perfect Pet food for one month (puppy formula for the added calcium) and claims she’s never felt better.
But what if word-of-mouth and five-star online reviews aren't enough? "[My Perfect Pet] is the only nationally available petfood company open to the public for viewing and tasting during all business operations," explains Scoggins. The company has an education center where pet owners can learn more about pet nutrition and health in general, and from there they can observe the production areas through glass partitions and even taste the products themselves! The results of all this have led to very aggressive customer loyalty and viral growth within the pet community, say the MPP co-founders.
MPP announced national distribution in September 2011, with planned distribution throughout the US within the next quarter. In addition to retail channels, My Perfect Pet is supporting an online next-day delivery model for markets not supported by retail outlets and customers wanting the flexibility and convenience of online shopping and delivery. "We are also partnering with qualifying nonprofit groups, setting them up to act as distributors for My Perfect Pet products, allowing pet owners to purchase directly through them, enabling petfood purchases to become a source of revenue generation for their nonprofit organization," Scoggins explains.
As the industry is moving toward fresh foods, My Perfect Pet is well positioned to drive significant growth opportunity in the petfood industry. Scoggins also sees the untapped homemade market significant in growing the business as well. "There are many products claiming to be the best for a variety of health issues, but continue to use lower cost, more highly processed and refined ingredients which are more difficult for the pets to digest, and contribute to ongoing health issues," she says. "There is a strong correlation between pet diet and health, and we are driven to educate pet owners on how to make healthier choices for their pets."
Coming soon from MPP? A line of fresh food products specifically developed to meet dietary needs of pets with health issues requiring a special or restricted diet, fresh alternatives for dogs with common health issues, such as renal/kidney disease and pancreatitis, and a cat food line currently in development, likely to be introduced by early 2012.