Redesigned pet food packaging and rebranded products helped Health Extension Pet Care increase sales and expand the territory of their grain-free cat and dog food line, Brad Gruber, president and COO of Health Extension, told Petfood Industry.
Last year, Health Extension recently had launched its grain-free Allergix line when Petfood Industry profiled the company. That line now has been completely overhauled and is marketed as Health Extension Grain-Free.
The pet food rebranding efforts worked, and the revamped dog and cat food line has been well received, according to Gruber.
While they were overhauling Allergix, Health Extension also rebranded their other grain-free formulas into that same line and tweaked the ingredients, for example adding coconut oil. Several new recipes of cat and dog foods were introduced into that single grain-free line, as well.
“The reaction from our retailers and our end users has just been magnificent,” said Gruber. “They’ve embraced this better than we could have ever expected.”
Building on that customer approval, Health Extension has expanded their distribution into California, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona and hired new sales managers.
“That greatly expands our availability nationwide and puts us into the majority of the US,” said Gruber.
Within the next six months to a year, Health Extension hopes to be available from all the distribution centers of their exclusive distributor, Phillips, but will proceed with caution, said Gruber.
The rebranding process started when marketing research revealed that the name Allegrix confused consumers, who wondered if the brand was only for dogs with allergies. Consumers also didn’t always realize that name related to the cat and dog food being grain-free.
“Once we decided we were going to step away from the Allergix name, we took th eopportunity to update the packaging.” Gruber said. “We wanted to give it a more contemporary image to make it look better on the shelf and really reflect quality in the brand.”
Health Extension’s grain-free dog and cat food packaging now features a pastoral scene of a sunny field with a superimposed image of a dog or cat, compared to the solid background of the older version. The bags are flat-bottomed, which allows their bottom flap to be more visible and identifiable, said Gruber.
The same visual theme of the grain-free packaging will spread to the traditional line after January of next year.
“It’s more sensitive from a color and visual standpoint to the female consumer,” said Gruber. “It’s such a departure from our original bag it’s astonishing.”
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.