LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In a first-ever move, San Diego-headquartered Petco, a leading specialty retailer of pet products and services with more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations in North America, has tapped Los Alamitos, California JustFoodForDogs to open hundreds of "stores within stores" with many of them featuring exhibition kitchens so customers can see how the food is made. Petco CEO Brad Weston says that JustFoodForDogs has distinguished itself as a game-changer in the industry by encouraging pet parents to embrace, small batch, human-grade food that is "fit for human consumption but nutritionally balanced for pets." JustFoodForDogs' product, which uses only USDA-grade meats and produce, is formulated by a team of veterinarians, many of whom hold rare subspecialty degrees (e.g., nutrition, toxicology, dermatology, etc.). They were tasked with creating a brand of food designed to keep pets living longer and healthier lives. It is made fresh daily before its customers at JustFoodForDogs exhibition kitchens throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
The partnership with Petco is a first of its kind as no pet retailer has ever built exhibition kitchens in its locations. While some Petco stores will feature these kitchens, others will house smaller pantries and runs that will be supplied with fresh product daily beginning in New York City and Southern California.
Established in 2010, JustFoodForDogs emerged as a "disrupter" in the industry when it debuted its high-quality brand of product. Serial entrepreneur Shawn Buckley founded the company with the idea of developing an alternative to commercial brand dog food commonly found at retail stores. He enlisted a team of veterinarians who created the product then opened locations throughout Southern California. Some of the original team work full-time at JustFoodForDogs and are actively involved in the formulation of the food as well as studying its effects on dogs. They are also involved with conducting scientific research to support those studies.
"We are delighted to partner with Petco, the most prominent retailer of pet products and services in the world," said Buckley, who added, in another first, JustFoodForDogs' own nutrition consultants will staff the Petco stores.
"As the inventor of the most radical change in pet food in decades, JustFoodForDogs is on the vanguard of a new trend that is rapidly changing the industry," said Petco executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Rebecca Frechette. "We researched other potential partners in the genre and decided to go with JustFoodForDogs as the company's unwavering commitment to quality and love of pets mirror Petco's core beliefs. Also, they have invested considerable resources in research and maintain a staff of vets who work tirelessly to improve the product."
Added JustFoodForDogs CEO Carey Tischler, "What distinguishes Petco from other retailers is that they share the same vision and commitment that our company values which is to change the standard in the way we feed our pets by offering the absolute best food available."
Veterinarian Oscar Chavez, JustFoodForDogs chief medical officer and a professor of canine clinical nutrition, said, "A growing number of people regard their four-legged pets as family members and, thus, are taking better care of them than ever. I think we are witnessing a paradigm shift in the pet food business and the partnership between Petco and JustFoodForDogs is representative of that."
Last year, L Catterton, the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm in the world, made a significant growth investment in JustFoodForDogs to accelerate growth and expansion. This laid the groundwork for the company teaming up with Oakland, California based Pet Food Express (PFE) to build pantries and runs at several of its stores. Sales have been so brisk since the partnership started a year ago that PFE has green-lighted additional pantries and runs in its Northern California stores.
The pet food industry continues to evolve and the deal between Petco and JustFoodForDogs comes on the heels of some major acquisitions. General Mills purchased Blue Buffalo for $8 billion and J.M. Smucker Co. agreed to buy Ainsworth Pet Nutrition from L Catterton for $1.9 billion. Both companies are betting that pet food can help reinvigorate sales in a sluggish consumer-product industry.
Frechette added, "We are betting that continually reinventing the category will drive the next wave of growth in the industry."
"As more and more pet parents are steering away from kibble and embracing real food (made from USDA-grade meats and produce), such strategic moves like those made by General Mills and Smuckers may prove obsolete," said Buckley. "Just as the once-powerful Blockbuster Video gave way to Netflix, I believe we'll soon see a paradigm shift in how we feed our beloved pets."
About Petco and the Petco Foundation:
With more than 50 years of service to pet parents, Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that obsesses about delivering health and happy experiences for pets and the people who love them. We do this by providing the products, services, advice and experiences that keep pets physically fit, mentally alert, socially engaged and emotionally happy. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico; prescription services and pet supplies from the leading veterinary-operated pet product supplier, Drs. Foster & Smith; digitally-delivered pet health advice through PetCoach; and petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has invested more than $200 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.
JustFoodForDogs kitchens and pantries are located throughout Southern California. The company also offers online recipes for those who want to make their own healthy, whole food meals from scratch at home. The company has a team of veterinarians, including a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist, and a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. The company also offers treats, supplements, veterinary support diets, custom formulations and a cat recipe. The foods are available online and can be shipped nationwide. To learn more about JustFoodForDogs, visit www.justfoodfordogs.com.
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