Wexford Farms Pet Food, a start-up company founded by three former Heinz executives, has created a warm dog food supplement called Warm Ups, and will be launching its second product line, Warm Meals, in November.
Founded by Rich Rothamel, who has many years' experience in dog food at companies such as Heinz, Del Monte and Walmart, the warm petfood-topper products are being sold in pet supply stores as well as online through Pet360 and PetFoodDirect. The 1.75-ounce single-serve product is a blend of oatmeal, flavoring, rice and vitamins, which gets mixed with warm water and stirred by consumers, then added to a serving of the dog's food. Among other benefits, Wexford Farms developed the warm food so that the aroma is more intense once heated.
Wexford Farms Pet Food has gone through two rounds of investment and raised US$1 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company invested in petfood production equipment for a 10,000-square-foot facility it's leasing in Warren, Pennsylvania, USA.
CEO Christopher Puma and Rothamel were working elsewhere while experimenting with a dog food enhancer, including hiring outside companies to run tests on the early versions. After deciding they had a potentially successful product, they hired a firm to run a standard 40-dog test. Of the 40 dogs tested, 35 showed a statistically significant preference for dog food that had been mixed with Warm Ups. The company is currently in the approval process for a patent on the warm food.
By Lindsay Beaton
As work continues on creating a new nutrition label that focuses on simplifying information for consumers, challenges remain.
By Tang Yu