Philanthropy in pet food: The importance of giving back

Pet food companies have a direct avenue, via their customer base, to philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why they should be taking every opportunity to get involved.

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Philanthropy and animals is a no-brainer for the pet food industry. This year, we highlight three companies doing their best to help their communities. | FatCamera, iStockPhoto.com
Philanthropy and animals is a no-brainer for the pet food industry. This year, we highlight three companies doing their best to help their communities. | FatCamera, iStockPhoto.com

Most people would agree that giving back is a good thing, and most companies likely feel the same way. How and when you give back to the communities you serve is a matter of opportunity, resources and strategy, but that you should give back to them is nearly a foregone conclusion. Here’s what some philanthropically minded pet food companies said when we asked, “Why do you believe it’s important for pet food companies to be involved in, and give back to, their communities?”

  1. Pets should, and do, come first in the pet food industry.

Being in an industry that focuses on the care and feeding of animals means those who work in pet food are already doing their best for pets. But more than that, they have a product that will always be in demand when their customer base is in need.

“At Petcurean, we pride ourselves on putting pets first — this applies to all pets — those currently in homes and those waiting to find their forever home,” says Christine Mallier, public relations and community relations manager for Petcurean. “This extends beyond developing premium pet food and includes supporting pets and pet parents during difficult times.”

By donating product during times of duress, says Mallier, the company has the opportunity to alleviate some of the stress that shelters and pet owners experience. “We feel very fortunate to be in a position to support our communities through donations so we do so whenever we can, both in the USA and in Canada.”

  1. “Doing good” is, well, the right thing to do.

Pet food companies largely take their responsibility to the world’s pets very seriously, and over the years have realized that such a responsibility can be applied to everything they do as a business, even beyond the finished product they send out.

“From the very start of the business, it’s been in Freshpet’s DNA to simply do the right thing,” says Steven Elwell, director of digital marketing for Freshpet. “Our goals (above and beyond providing fresh and natural pet food) are focused on doing what’s right for pets, people and the planet. As part of that mission over the years, we’ve donated more than three million meals to shelters and rescues across the U.S., and when someone in the rescue community needs help we feel a responsibility to jump in rather than sit by the sidelines.”

Those at Freshpet try to take the spirit of doing good into every part of their business, says Elwell, including being mindful of their environmental impact in a variety of ways, like utilizing wind energy to power the company’s Freshpet Kitchens, reducing energy consumption and even turning waste into energy. “Giving back is something the Freshpet family is very proud of, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to make a positive impact on the world.”

  1. Beginning small can lead to a far longer reach.

Supporting the community you interact with is important, as small steps can have a significant local impact. But once that local footprint is established, it can easily lead to larger and farther-reaching footprints that enact positive change more than ever expected.

“We want to have a national impact, and the best way to make that happen is to get involved at the community level,” says Jeanne Blandford, director of marketing for Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet. “It’s important that pet food companies and the rescue community work hand-in-hand. Working within your own community is paramount but communities can also transcend local limitations by working with neighboring communities.”

Through the company’s Fill A Bowl … Feed A Soul program, says Blandford, Chicken Soup for the Soul is able to help bring together groups from different cities and states to share not only resources and programing ideas, but pets as well.

 

For the full companion article, "Pet food companies giving back in 2018,” published in the November 2018 issue of Petfood Industry magazine, see www.PetfoodIndustry.com/articles/7553.

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