Spot & Tango is a human-grade fresh pet food company based in New York, USA that sends personalized meal plans to pet owners via the direct-to-consumer model that has seen so much increased interest in the last couple of years.
“We started as a local NYC (New York City) brand and are now distributed nationwide,” says Russell Breuer, CEO and founder of Spot & Tango. “Our team has grown a lot and I’m very happy that most of the original hires are still with the company as our mission has never changed. We still wake up excited about the opportunity to improve pet nutrition and support pet parents across the country.”
From launch to current successes
The company was founded in 2018 and has seen nothing but growth since then.
“Spot & Tango grew by over 250% in 2021 and has delivered over 29 million meals to pet parents across the country since its launch in 2018, in both its fresh and innovative ‘fresh dry’ product formats,” says Breuer. “We fundamentally believe that health and wellness for pets is a right, not a luxury. Our mission is to lead the market in innovation by building a platform of products, services and community content that meets the needs of pets and their parents nationwide.”
It's a tall order, but so far the company is up to the challenge. Besides the three fresh recipes Spot & Tango offers — Turkey & Red Quinoa, Beef & Millet and Lamb & Brown Rice — they also have “UnKibble” recipes, which are made with fresh, whole ingredients that are gently dried using the company’s “Fresh Dry” process, which maximizes nutritional integrity. The Cod & Salmon, Beef & Barley and Chicken & Brown rice recipes, like the rest of Spot & Tango’s products, contain no artificial preservatives, fillers or additives.
UnKibble in particular has opened the company’s options up to a wider customer base, which has responded in the best way possible: By asking for more.
“In March 2022, we launched our third UnKibble recipe (Cod & Salmon),” says Breuer. “This product was created in response to customer demand for a hypoallergenic option, and it’s great for dogs with grain sensitivities.” Perhaps more importantly in terms of growth, UnKibble recipes are, being dry, more convenient than fresh-frozen food, and are also on average 40% less expensive than fresh options.
“Our keys to growth start with a customer-first mentality, analyzing trends within the market and developing products with the highest-quality ingredients,” says Breuer. “Our fresh and fresh-dry product lines meet consumers where they are.”
And even in the midst of global economic turmoil affecting everything from the supply chain to consumers’ purchasing habits, Spot & Tango has continued to see signs that they’re on the right track — so much so that the company opened a new, 66,700-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania in October 2022 to accommodate growth.
Building a community and reaching out
Unsurprisingly for a direct-to-consumer business, Spot & Tango focuses heavily on building a community of its customers and is very engaged with those who are interested in their products.
“Community is a core pillar of our business, and we are actively building and engaging with our community via the What the Pup platform,” says Breuer. “We have countless articles on our What the Pup blog to meet the pet parent wherever they may be in their pet parenting journey. Additionally, we’ve spent much of 2022 developing our What the Pup community on Facebook, which now has thousands of members and counting. This is a very active group of pet parents looking for connection, advice and a platform to share. We regularly invite pet experts, including trainers, rescue partners and nutrition experts, to take over the channel for the day, giving our members 1:1 access to expert advice throughout their pet parenting journey.”
The company has also introduced a shelter and rescue program to donate food to dogs waiting for adoption, a venture that has quickly expanded and is becoming a staple of the company’s outreach efforts.
“We currently work with 22 rescues and sanctuaries around the country providing nutritious, high-quality food for rescue dogs,” says Breuer. “[In 2023] our goal is to go deeper with our partnerships, providing not only food but support as a partner during fundraising and adoption events to help every dog find a loving home and bowl of good food.”
Spot & Tango is also working to further integrate its content and community into a customer portal experience that will offer pet parents not only product information, but also customized content and connections to help them thrive as pet owners.
The future of Spot & Tango
The company has plans to continue growing its customer base as well as its products, seeing the fresh pet food segment as one of opportunity.
“The pet category has never been stronger,” says Breuer. “Dog food is at the forefront of the ‘humanization’ trend but we fully expect this to translate to other species in the near future. Pet ownership and e-commerce adoption accelerated during [the COVID-19 pandemic] and we expect both to be permanent changes.”
According to Breuer, Spot & Tango’s community will be leading the way, as the company aims to continue meeting its customers where they’re at to provide products they want for their animals.
“We have added, and will continue to add, more products to our assortment, offering our pet parents a one-stop shop for the highest-quality pet nutrition and care products,” he says. “In 2023, we will continue on our path to becoming more than just a meal subscription business, but rather a product platform for our customers.”
Headquarters: New York City, New York, USA
Officers: Russell Breuer, CEO and founder; Dylan Munro, chief operations officer; Niall Murphy, chief financial officer
Brands: Spot & Tango
Website/Social Media: www.spotandtango.com, @spotandtango on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Notable: Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers are our most popular breeds!