Spring Naturals has burst onto the petfood market in a big way. Launched by Performance Pet Products as a US Department of Agriculture-certified line of dog food using only real meat, and now preparing to launch a full line of grain-free cat food, the brand has already made a splash on retail shelves and across social media, seemingly overnight. Though Spring Naturals has been on store shelves for just over a year, the young brand's retail sales have been accelerating (double-digit growth in their first year) and they have received recognition from Pet Business, Pet Product News and The Whole Dog Journal.
For over a decade, Performance Pet Products (a division of American Foods Group, the fifth-largest beef processor in North America) has been a custom supplier of premium canned foods and treats for many prominent pet brands. According to Rob Cadenhead, Spring Naturals' vice president of sales and marketing, Spring Naturals was launched in January 2012, with the goal to create a complete line of natural, superpremium products based on extensive formulation experience. "From day one, team members agreed that our entire line would be made in the USA and that all ingredients, whenever possible, would be domestically sourced. Nothing would be sourced from China," Cadenhead explains. "We also made it our explicit policy that Spring Naturals products would only be stocked by independent pet stores and serviced by a select group of pet products distributors."
After months of product development, the company is preparing to launch a full line of grain-free dry and wet cat dinners in the first quarter of 2013. "In addition to our complete line of natural dog dinners and treats, we now offer five dry cat foods as well as 14 flavors of canned cat food," says Cadenhead. "They contain a balanced blend of whole garden greens and berries that are naturally rich in antioxidants and support a healthy urinary tract. This is a collection of recipes with exceptional palatability, as our feline feeding panel can attest, and promises to be another highly profitable opportunity for our retail customers.
"Like our superpremium competitors, we're continuing to experience a steady increase in demand for our grain-free dog dinners and treats," said Cadenhead. "The reason for their popularity is driven by rising public awareness that cereal-based diets may be more of a challenge for pets with food sensitivities or digestive issues."
Spring Naturals' recipes are based on their "whole food nutrition" philosophy that a balanced blend of real meat, poultry or fish combined with whole vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains is the best way to nurture a pet, according to Cadenhead. The company also claims their recipes contain more real meat than most superpremium brands, plus a unique combination of other proteins such as whole chickpeas and eggs. "Many petfood companies use meat, poultry or fish meals as a protein source, so they need to add high-glycemic ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, potato starch, tapioca or rice to bind the kibble together," says Cadenhead. "In contrast, our recipes are free of these high-glycemic ingredients and full of real meat, fruits and vegetables. We believe that dogs and cats fed a diet consisting of low-glycemic ingredients lead longer, healthier lives."
When asked to predict what the future looks like for Spring Naturals, the superpremium market and the petfood industry, Cadenhead says, "We feel the natural petfood and treats aisle is a great place to be. It continues to be a growing category with tremendous upside potential. Each year, the bar seems to be raised higher and higher when it comes to defining superpremium products. What used to be considered top-of-the-line in terms of ingredients and flavors is now considered middle-of-the-road." Spring Naturals will continue to raise this bar, only using real meat, and novel ingredients like quinoa, chickpeas, blueberries and cranberries, and these unique recipes will continue to define the company's "whole food nutrition" philosophy.