The Dog Treat Company nourishes with hand-baked treats

England-based The Dog Treat Company expands into the U.S. and broadens all-natural baked treats product line to meet demand.

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The Dog Treat Company’s treats (approved of by Weimaraner Penelope Pearl Pedersen, AKA Penny, pictured) highlight the company’s desire to provide all-natural, hand-baked options with simple ingredients to dogs all over the world. | Courtesy The Dog Treat Company
The Dog Treat Company’s treats (approved of by Weimaraner Penelope Pearl Pedersen, AKA Penny, pictured) highlight the company’s desire to provide all-natural, hand-baked options with simple ingredients to dogs all over the world. | Courtesy The Dog Treat Company

The Dog Treat Company prides itself on hand-baking nourishing, all-natural dog treats in small batches with simple ingredients. That pride has led the company to a partnership, allowing it to expand across the pond into the U.S. while growing its product options to meet consumer demand.

“We want to be known for being The Dog Treat Company of England, the one that brought the finest all-natural, hand-baked dog treats to the United States — Snibbles,” says Co-founder Joe Halliwell. “Snibbles” stands for “sneak a nibble” and is the name of The Dog Treat Company’s line of products introduced in the fourth quarter of 2019 with the company’s U.S. partners, Only an Ocean (a company that serves as growth partners for pet brands, and offers pet retailers and distributors a way to find and shop for pet products).

Entering the U.S. pet treat market

“We launched Snibbles…with three initial veggie-based dog treats,” says Halliwell. Snibbles is an all-natural, hand-baked, heart-shaped crunchy treat with a surprise in every box. As a tie to our English lineage, every box of Snibbles includes one crown-shaped cookie. Once the special crown cookie is found among the heart cookies, we suggest a royal tradition between owner and best friend, which is explained on each Snibbles box. This tradition is an opportunity for the pet owner to pause and appreciate the special bond between their dog and themselves, and treat their pet like royalty.”

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The initial launch of The Dog Treat Company’s Snibbles line includes three veggie-based flavors: English Blend, Veggie and Cheese. | Courtesy The Dog Treat Company

The company is proud of its origins and continues to integrate an English touch into everything it produces.

“Our home office and baking kitchens are located in Devon, England, which is in the southwest portion of England,” says Halliwell. “Home base is nestled alongside granite cliffs, grassy landscapes and picturesque views of the Celtic Sea and English Channel. We bake close to nature and source our ingredients in small, fresh batches with farm fresh ingredients — ingredients that are whole, simple and ones that pet owners can understand.

“Our core principles are creating nourishing pet treats as well as blending our proud royal heritage with cultivating local farming and agriculture,” he says. In fact, the first three flavors of Snibbles — English Blend, Veggie and Cheese — use local ingredients such as Devon honey, parsnip, turmeric, kale and cranberry. “Our opportunities will come from the uniqueness of our fine English-based ingredients and recipes.”

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The Snibbles line features ingredients local to The Dog Treat Company’s home base in Devon, England, such as Devon honey. | Courtesy The Dog Treat Company

Current successes and future endeavors

According to Halliwell, The Dog Treat Company’s introduction to the U.S. market has been well-received by independent boutiques with strong interest from leading food distributors. So much so, in fact, that additional SKUs are already in the works.

“We are refining our next batch of three additional recipes based on U.S. client feedback that are all chicken liver-based with added hints of local peppermint, pumpkin and chamomile,” says Halliwell. “Each flavor has its own unique healthy characteristic.” While these products are slated to begin shipping to retailers in the second quarter of 2020, the company plans to expand the Snibbles line to a total of 13 SKUs by the end of 2020.

“Our recent accomplishments are really focused on the successful launch of Snibbles to the U.S. market and neighboring European countries, working closely with the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and state regulatory offices to ensure a smooth entry,” says Halliwell. “We are super excited about the expansion of the Snibbles line to more than 12 healthy recipes along with a special birthday celebration edition. We believe a recipe of passion, skill and focus is the key to success and intend on delivering all to our dog families in the United States.”

The company has already come a long way from its home kitchen roots.

“Our company has changed in size from baking dog treats for our own crew of dogs in our home kitchen to [baking for] our friends and neighbors and now to a commercial-grade kitchen, a team of bakers and the ability to reach our friends across the pond,” says Halliwell. “Our vision is to create amazingly healthy baked goods for pets worldwide, via expanded product offerings and ultimately a program that ties together the importance of local fresh ingredients through possible garden workshop sponsorships to providing treats to pets that may not have the opportunity to eat healthy.”

It’s an ambitious order, but Halliwell says The Dog Treat Company is up to the challenge.

“Our biggest challenge is our biggest asset: our uniqueness and authentic story connection to our pet homes,” says Halliwell. “Getting our story heard, standing out in the market and making sure we’re visible in a very large collection of other fine dog treats.

“As we all know, there are countless food and treat choices for our consumers,” he says. “Our partnership with Only an Ocean allowed us to focus on what we do best — create, bake and share our kitchen with U.S. pet homes. So many times, in past career roles, we’ve seen wonderful small businesses fall apart as they try to do it all. Our U.S./European partners work with us to deliver the message, listen, understand and respond to the market, place our product, and establish relationships within key market segments.”

What’s coming for pet treats in the industry

Industry evolution will continue to be the name of the game, according to Halliwell, as pet owners keep searching for the best they can offer their animals.

“The pet food industry, both food and treats, is a fluid segment,” says Halliwell. “With the latest buzz and opinions regarding grain free, legume free, high protein or perhaps even vegan options, the industry is constantly evolving. Consumers are confused by the news and ultimately just want what is best for their loved pets.

“We wouldn’t be surprised to see more market share in the vegan and vegetable-based food and treat segments,” he says. “We see consumers making choices for their pets based on trust and connection to brand. The ‘impossible’ burger is making huge strides, and we often see pet owners feed their pets parallel to their own eating habits. In addition, our feedback from pet owners is a yearning for small, focused and unique quality-based brands rather than large company names that make a huge range of products.”

At the end of the day, The Dog Treat Company’s overarching mood is one of thanks.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to share our story and for the warm response to our products in American pet homes,” says Halliwell. “We look forward to serving our pets and to help them ‘snibble’ happily for years to come.”

 

Fast Facts

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Headquarters: Devon, England

Officers: Joe Halliwell, co-founder; Sarah Halliwell, co-founder

 Brands: The Dog Treat Company

 Website/Social Media: www.thedogtreatcompany.com, @thedogtreatcompany on Instagram

 Notable: Joe Halliwell left the corporate world as a lawyer to start The Dog Treat Company and enjoy a more fulfilling lifestyle in the pet industry alongside his wife Sarah.

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