Bramble officially launched in May 2021 as “the first and only 100% plant-based fresh dog food that looks, feels and tastes like the meat dogs crave.” The company was founded by now-CEO Amanda Rolat, who wanted the brand to reflect her values on health, nutrition and sustainability.
“We aim to be known for our commitment to high-quality ingredients that are sustainable and better for everyone, especially pets,” says Rolat. “We are pulling the curtain back on clever marketing that masks inferior ingredients.”
Bramble was started by Rolat, a self-described “dog mom” who couldn’t find a commercial pet food that contained the quality of ingredients that reflected her values about pet health, sustainability and overall welfare. Surveying the entire pet food landscape, she says she was met with marketing buzzwords and ingredients that she couldn’t trust, and very little in the way of food solutions for her two dogs Bryn and McGruff.
Rolat hired board-certified veterinary nutritionists to create a 100% plant-based recipe that is both high in protein and full of superfoods, and with that the company launched its mission to serve dogs the healthiest food possible with an emphasis on pet enjoyment, “without sacrificing the planet or animals along the way.”
Why fresh and plant-based pet food?
Fresh and plant-based is quite the niche for pet food, but Rolat says it’s where she sees both need and opportunity.
“We chose to focus on our fresh plant-based dog food because it’s the greatest need,” says Rolat. “Currently, there is no commercial option for feeding a whole food (meaning non-processed), plant-based diet to dogs.”
In the meantime, the market is there.
“There’s a whole new generation of pet owners who are discerning and committed to finding and paying for products that don’t sacrifice the planet for convenience,” says Rolat. “These pet parents are trend setters, and other consumers and companies follow their lead. Our pets are family members more than ever now, and people know that what is not good for us — highly processed food containing questionable ingredients — is not good for their fur kids either.”
Bramble’s human-grade formulations use organic pea protein as well as ingredients such as lentils, sweet potato and carrots (the grain-free “Cowbell” formula), or long grain brown rice, potato and garbanzo beans (the “Roost” formula) to ensure the meals are nutrient dense and satisfying. Superfoods such as peas, apples and blueberries help round things out.
Education and gaining consumer trust
Plant-based pet foods are a growing segment of pet food, but there’s a long way to go before they’re considered anything like mainstream. Rolat says education will be key to her company’s success, as well as to the success of the idea in general.
“There’s an educational hurdle, because we have been taught to view our domesticated pets as creatures of the wild and to feed them accordingly,” says Rolat. “There is a perception that dogs need meat. It will take some time to cut through some of the noise surrounding that and show pet parents that Bramble puts health first.”
The company decided to start small, launching in the northeast United States (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Massachusetts and Rhode Island) to get the ball rolling.
“We chose to focus on a geographic region before expanding, because we often hear about companies trying to do too much at once,” says Rolat. “We really want to focus on the consumer experience and product before expanding. So far, the initial response has been fantastic and exceeded our expectations. Dogs absolutely love Bramble and pet parents feel great feeding their dogs food that is healthy and better for the planet and other animals.”
That’s not to say Bramble doesn’t have bigger plans.
“One year from now, we aim to be selling nationwide,” says Rolat. “We also plan to add additional product lines that all reflect our commitment to providing the highest quality, sustainable plant-based pet food and products.”
Opportunities and the future of pet food
Rolat says there’s a lot of change happening in the pet food industry right now in terms of what consumers are looking for, and that can only mean more opportunity down the road.
“Even though the pet food industry trends in lockstep with the human food industry, it is still quite behind in the sense that consumers fall for the kinds of feel-good terms, such as ‘all natural,’ that we have been steadily rejecting in our own diets,” says Rolat. “But this is changing, and we can see that change in how more and more consumers are turning away from highly-processed, dry food in favor of raw or gently cooked diets. Feeding our pets with the same concerns and values that we have in our own diets is a real seismic shift and opens up a whole new level of opportunity in the pet category.”
Headquarters: New York, New York, USA
Officers: Amanda Rolat, founder and CEO
Website/Social Media: www.bramblepets.com; @bramblepets on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Notable: The number one thing we hear from people is that they’ve tasted their dog’s Bramble and loved it!