Barkstrong may buy more natural pet food brands in 2018

Barkstrong is family owned and operated with its headquarters in Woodland Hills, California, USA.

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(Minerva Studio, BigStock.com)
(Minerva Studio, BigStock.com)

So far in 2018, Barkstrong has acquired three natural pet food companies and remains open to purchasing more.

“Like any company, we are open to whatever the future may bring,” said Greg Eastwood, Barkstrong’s vice president of sales. “We are looking for brands that can supply either geographic opportunities, additional brand intelligence, or strong operators. If a brand is well suited in its category and brings the aforementioned criteria, we would possibly be interested.

“The space is clearly consolidating and with the strong move to online, it’s become more of a math driven technology play,” Eastwood said.

History of Barkstrong in the natural pet food market

Founded in 2017, Barkstrong is family owned and operated with its headquarters in Woodland Hills, California, USA.

“We specialize in top quality food and affordable pricing, with a key focus on brands that are convenient for the consumer, category competitive, and well developed and crafted,” Eastwood said.

In late May, Barkstrong acquired Wild Calling! Pet Foods followed shortly by Great Life Pet Food. Then in June, Barkstrong purchased Pioneer Naturals dog food.

“Great Life and Pioneer Naturals will be available for purchase again in early July on Chewy.com and we are working to shore up agreements with traditional pet specialty as well and hope to be able to launch there shortly thereafter,” said Eastwood.

Natural pet foods stand out as established trend

Barkstrong focuses on natural pet food because it’s about quality and taking care of family, said Eastwood.

“Our pets deserve the best food options available,” he said. “We are lucky that we can not only provide that but again, at an affordable price.”

Natural pet food held the largest market share of six trends discussed by Natasha Davis, client service manager for GfK, during her presentation at Petfood Forum 2018. With sales of US$5.7 billion, natural pet food made up 71 percent of the pet food market. However, year-over-year growth of natural pet food was the lowest of the trends at 1.5 percent.

“It’s not enough to tell your consumer we’re natural,” said Davis. “If you’re in a space that is 71 percent natural, what is natural?”

To succeed in marketing natural dog and cat foods, brands need to differentiate themselves on shelved crowed with competitors making the same claims, she said.

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