Petfood Industry - July 2018 - 18
18 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com
➥BLUE DOG BAKERY: MASS MARKET PREMIUM TREAT SUCCESS
Expanding beyond baked dog treats
Koppelman. "When you look at subcategory growth, biscuits
With such an established presence in the baked dog treats
are stable and 'fake' meat is in a dramatic decline, so it was
segment, Blue Dog has set out to gain traction in other dog
a clear category opportunity for us, and as a brand that had
treat segments as well.
already shown we could be successful in biscuits and soft and
"Every brand wants to grow their business," says
chewy, we already had that trust from the consumer, so real
Koppelman. "You always look at your category to determine
meat snacks were the next logical step."
where you see opportunities. When we were surveying
Blue Dog's current meat treats line includes beef bites,
beef sticks, chicken bites and chicken
sticks. The products are all natural,
Christian Mueller I shutterstock.com
made with U.S.-sourced premium
Packaging focus: Blue Dog Bakery's mascot
beef or U.S. farm-raised chicken.
The company even focused its most
In 2012, after 14 years, Blue Dog Bakery updated
recent packaging revamp on the line,
its packaging and its signature blue dog. At the end
swapping the signature blue dog's
of 2017, the company turned its focus to another
revamp, this time of its meat snacks packaging.
chef's hat for a rancher's bandana and
Learn more about the thought process behind the
visually promoting the meat ingredient
two updates here:
and premium status of the treats (see
"Packaging focus" web box). They
started shipping the meat treats in their
new packaging to stores in February
the category within dog treats, I thought it was interesting
2018, and while it's still early for numbers, initial feedback on
learning as we were looking across certain brands that some
the new look has been good, according to Koppelman.
brands are really limited in terms of which subcategories
they can compete in. Certain brands can only compete in
The future of Blue Dog Bakery
the category they're in today. But we felt like our brand had
The future looks bright for Blue Dog, and Koppelman says
enough credibility that we could extend our brand position
the shake-up of more premium brands making their way
across other subcategories."
into the grocery/mass space can only mean good things for
The company's first foray outside of hard-baked biscuits
grocery/mass itself and the company in particular.
involved a transitional step focusing on soft-baked dog treats.
"I think with the enhanced marketing and dollars being
"We didn't want to go straight from baked biscuits to
put behind this transition of brands into grocery and mass, it's
meat, and we wanted to stay close in on some categories
only going to be positive for grocery stores," says Koppelman.
as we expanded," says Koppelman. "So, instead of going
"It's going to drive foot traffic and remind customers, or show
from hard baked to meat, we went from hard baked to
them for the first time, that there are better-quality products
soft baked. It's still baked, so the move made sense within
in the stores. It created a lot of uncertainty overall for a lot of
Blue Dog Bakery, but now we're getting into some soft and
players in the category, but our belief is that it's going to be
chewy items that help us bring great-tasting, better-for-you,
positive for a brand like Blue Dog Bakery.
modestly premium-priced but superpremium-quality treats to
"We've been really successful over the last several years in
consumers. So that was the next logical transition for us."
achieving and maintaining a growth rate of 20 to 25 percent,
More recently, in 2015, Blue Dog took another step, this
and being able to deliver new and interesting premiumtime into the real meat snacks segment.
quality products to pet parents across the U.S.," says
"Based on [the success of the soft baked treats], we said,
Koppelman. "We want to maintain that growth trajectory and
okay, we have strong national distribution on our baked
continue to innovate and grow the Blue Dog Bakery brand.
biscuits, we launched soft and chewy treats a couple years
We love what we do, we're all pet lovers and owners, and we
ago, we're accelerating our distribution on those, what's
want to do for the next seven to 10 years what we did the last
next for us and what makes sense for our brand?" says
seven to 10 years, and have fun doing it." ■