Petfood Industry - January 2018 - 19
www.PetfoodIndustry.com | 19
WellPet's opportunities to stand out in pet
WellPet credits a significant number of its opportunities to
its ownership and its position in the industry.
"Being independent and family owned allows us to innovate at a faster pace, I think, than some of the bigger guys,"
says Kent. "I think we're able to react to industry trends and
changing consumer dynamics at a faster rate than most of our
"Equally, because of being family-owned by the Berwind
family specifically, I think we have the right level of resources
WellPet Foundation: making a difference for
pets in need
to be able to invest in new technologies and new facilities,"
she says. "Owning all our own facilities that we produce our
food in sets us apart from the smaller guys that you could say
can innovate at a fast pace, as well. It's that balance of being
able to provide new products and innovation, which I really
think is going to be what allows pet specialty to continue to
differentiate against food/drug/mass, and being able to do so
in our own facilities."
Kent also said she credits the company's people and their
commitment to ensuring WellPet's continued success.
"What sets us apart is the people who work here and their
unwavering approach to nutrition," she says. "It's not like
humans, where we can eat nachos one day and a salad the next
day; dogs and cats depend totally on us for their nutritional
choices. I think having a team that understands that, and thinks
about that in every decision they make - from a quality, from
a food safety, from an ingredient choice standpoint - is an
incredible differentiator for us."
Retail partnerships and e-commerce
Kent says pet food companies, particularly those dealing in
the pet specialty retail space, must be cognizant of the balance
between the needs of their retail partners and the practicality
of being available online.
"The independents and brick-and-mortar retailers are
really needing to have a reason for pet parents to still come
into their stores, versus going to food/drug/mass or going
online to buy a product," says Kent. "And I think the way
they're going to be able to keep people coming into their
Industry January 2018
stores is to offer the more innovative products, the products
that probably need a bit more explanation from store associates, products that you probably need some help explaining
how to use or how to store. That's where I think our retail
partners can really drive differentiation."
That's where the fourth category comes in, and why
Kent says she believes it will be "a billion-dollar category
by 2020."At the same time, there's no point in ignoring
e-commerce trends in the hopes they'll be a passing fad.
"I think for us, the internet caught everybody in the pet
space a little bit by surprise," says Kent. "The idea initially
was that the cost to ship a 26-pound bag of dog
food would be prohibitive, and we didn't expect
it to grow as fast as it has online. As a brand it's
important to be available online so those shoppers who only want to shop online can find us."
Maintaining the balance between retailers and
e-commerce is vital, and will allow everyone to
succeed, according to Kent. "I think that will allow brick and
mortar to compete at what they're good at, which is in-store
experience, offering education and added benefits (such as
grooming, walking or daycare), and allow e-commerce to
Headquarters: Tewksbury, Massachusetts, USA
Facilities: Mishawaka, Indiana, USA; Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA; Veendam, The Netherlands
Officers: CEO Camelle Kent,
Chief Financial Officer Nick Deldon
Sales: Upwards of US$400 million in 2016
Brands: Wellness Natural Pet Food, Old Mother
Hubbard, Holistic Select, Eagle Pack, Sojos, WHIMZEES
Distribution: WellPet has global distribution
Employees: Approximately 400
Website/Social Media: www.wellpet.com; www.
wellnesspetfood.com; www.holisticselect.com; www.
oldmotherhubbard.com; www.eaglepack.com; www.