Forthglade, the Devon based natural pet food company was pleased to be part of an unsung hero award this month. A seven year old Devon based Cockerpoo named Niven was recognised for his hard work and dedication as a Hearing Dog. The heroic hound had every reason to wag his tail after winning a weekend stay at a luxury pet-friendly hotel as well as three month’s worth of Forthglade’s natural pet food.
Niven and his owner Pauline regularly volunteer at the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, enabling deaf students to work with a hearing dog. The duo were nominated through a charity called Room to Reward, an initiative that recognises volunteers across the UK. Niven joined Pauline in 2012 and Pauline says of her beloved pet “Niven works tirelessly at anything I ask him to do, he is very friendly and patient”.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People set up a project with the Deaf Academy in October 2016, to see if any of the deaf students would benefit from the opportunity to engage with a hearing dog. Niven has been visiting the school every week since, working with the teachers and students - with amazing results.
Niven's dedication even made local news channels as camera crews came out to film the four-legged hero as he arrived at Devon’s Deerpark Country Hotel to receive his medal and Forthglade goodies.
Room to Reward is a charity which launched in July 2015. Since its launch, over 70 hotels are now supporting the scheme, rewarding deserving charity workers with complimentary hotel breaks across the UK.
Hornsea Garden Centre is one of the largest centres in the British Garden Centres family. Located in beautiful surroundings near Hornsea it has recently seen the addition of a new restaurant and a huge development making it a destination garden centre. Hornsea now boasts a new aquatics department as part of the development.
The new aquatics department here at Hornsea Garden Centre is the one stop shop for the fish keeper. With a great range of Marine, Tropical and Cold Water fish. We offer our customers a great selection of accessories along with expert advice to help them get the most out of their aquarium or pond.
We are looking for a passionate and motivated Aquatics Department Manager to continue the development of this department. Previous experience as a retail manager within the aquatics industry is preferred, however, applicants with a proven management background with a knowledge of fish keeping will be considered.
The successful candidate will be:
• Accountable for the operational excellence and financial performance of your department.
• Ensuring the highest standards of display, compliance and livestock inventory control are maintained and that sales revenue targets are achieved and exceeded.
• An inspirational leader for your new team ensuring that they receive clear direction and performance management within a culture of coaching and mentoring.
• Highly commercial and results driven with a proven track record in a Management position.
• Positive and strong communicator and a skilled motivational people manager. Adept at succession planning and performance management.
• Accountable for providing great customer service and have a keen eye for detail around the consumers experience in your department.
• A solution orientated thinker with excellent problem solving skills.
• Maintain standards of cleanliness and biological health of livestock holding systems.
• Responding to customer needs with expert advice and providing excellent customer service
If you are looking for new challenges with in a forward thinking family run business and would enjoy the rewards this role would bring then we would like to hear from you.
Please email your CV and include any relevant fishkeeping experience, toether with a cover letter explaining why you could be an ideal candidate for the position.
Closing date: Wednesday 19 April 2017
Monkfield Nutrition Ltd. is delighted to announce that it has acquired the Reptile and Bird elements of the Arcadia Products Plc business known as Arcadia Reptile.
John Courteney-Smith MRSB from Arcadia Reptile will join the Monkfield team. John will continue with his excellent work as Head of Science and Innovation, developing this market leading brand. The Arcadia Reptile team will continue to explore UV lighting, heating and nutritional products, aimed at enhancing the lives of reptiles in captivity by trying to get as close to nature as possible, through the concept of ‘Wild Re-Creation™’.
Gerard Oates, Managing Director of Arcadia Products, is looking forward to retirement in the not too distant future, “I am delighted that the brand has found a very good new home and look forward to assisting Monkfield with the integration and any ongoing consultancy”.
Monkfield Nutrition will initially focus on ensuring an effortless account transfer process, increasing stock levels to 100% and assisting John with an exciting number of innovative new ‘Arcadia reptile’ products.
Jo Wise, Managing Director of Monkfield stated, “The addition of Arcadia Reptile including the full bird and Zoological range adds an exciting and purposeful new dimension into the Monkfield business. We as a team will carry on with the excellent work and brand ethics of ‘Arcadia Reptile’ and are confident that the brand will continue to show good growth both in the UK and worldwide.”
With a full relocation into a brand new purpose built premises in Mepal, Cambridgeshire, Monkfield Nutrition has an exciting year ahead. This move will provide a significant increase in space for insect production, live reptiles, freezers and state of the art warehousing.
“We have a vision to become the UK’s very best, most productive, most inclusive wholesaler. This brand new facility will allow us to quickly achieve our goals”, says Jo Wise, Managing Director of Monkfield Nutrition.
To celebrate St David's Day, we've gathered together some great products from some of our favourite Welsh brands.
Truline by Pero
This meat and fish variety contains chicken, turkey, salmon and is grain-free. Pero have been making natural foods since 1985 and are based in Betws-y-coed, North Wales.
More info: http://www.pero-online.co.uk/
Welsh Meadow Hay by Burns
Based in Carmarthenshire, Burns' Welsh Meadow Hay is good for rabbits, and for pets, is a true taste of Wales. The hay is made on Burns' own farm too.
More info: http://burnspet.co.uk/
Country Choice by Gelert Nutrition
Gelert was the name of Prince Llewellyn's loyal dog and this food is fit for royalty. This wet food is gently steamed and is available in trays of 395g.
ore info: http://www.gelertnutrition.com/
Online pet lifestyle destination, Pets Pyjamas has launched a new ‘Private Sales’ concept for pet owners, available exclusively to subscribers and providing a quick revenue opportunity for pet brands.
Open to current brands listed with the site, as well as new ones wanting to work with this business, PetsPyjamas’ new Private Sales offers brands the opportunity to turn surplus and seasonal stock into quick cash. Items must have a least 50% off the normal retail price but for maximum impact, PetsPyjamas encourages suppliers to reduce prices to 70% off.
Commenting on their latest innovation, PetsPyjamas CEO Gracia Amico says: “Fast-paced, fashion and interiors sales sites are already massively popular in the UK and we've been quick to adapt the concept for pets. Available exclusively via a password-protected, subscription-based area of our site, we're giving brands the opportunity to turn surplus and seasonal stock into quick cash to invest in new collections, business development or even clearing some space in their stock room. With up to 70% off across a wide range of items such as beds, toys and coats, we've had a fantastic reaction so far from today’s deal savvy consumer.”
Brands wishing to sell via PetsPyjamas, should direct their enquiries to Sara Griffiths North at email@example.com.
There's always room for a little cuteness on a Wednesday afternoon! In our March issue, Claire Hamblion of Supreme looks at why these make such cute – but choosy pets. Until then, enjoy this video of baby chinchillas having a dust bath.
Today is the day when we are encouraged to get romantic and, for many, treating their pets is part of the fun. As we see an increase in the amount of people calling themselves 'pet parents' rather than 'pet owners', it's natural that they want to make their fur babies feel loved!
We've picked our favourite products – perfect for those who love their pets.
Paw-Ever Yours – The Dog Treat Company
The latest in a series of collectible tins celebrating life-affirming moments over the course of the year. This is a low calorie, wheat-free treat that will help your dog’s heart not only flutter but feel healthier.
For wholesale, visit: www.thedogtreatcompany.co.uk
Little Lovelies – Lily's Kitchen
Chicken and shrimp make cats very happy indeed and Lily's cute packaging is sure to attract the attention of your customers. In fact, it all looks so good it makes some human food look pretty boring.
For wholesale, visit: www.lilyskitchen.co.uk/
Tie Me a Knot – Mungo & Maud
It's pink and it's super cute! For owners who don't want brightly coloured toys in their homes but prefer something a little more subtle. Gorgeous dog sadly not included.
For wholesale, visit: http://www.mungoandmaud.com/
Iced Woofin – The Barking Bakery
Cupcakes for dogs? Why of course! These iced treats are perfect for humans who really love their fur babies are great way to reward dogs or celebrate a special day. Get in touch with them if you're interested in stocking these pooch friendly treats.
For wholesale, visit: http://thebarkingbakery.co.uk/
High Maintenance – Pet Head
A smelly dog is not very romantic is it? That's why cult brand Pet Head have introduced this brightly coloured, funky product made just for dogs. This leave-in conditioner makes fur super soft.
For wholesale, visit: http://www.companyofanimals.co.uk/
There’s no better place to see and touch new products than a trade show. But planning your trip is key to overall success. Here are some pointers from PATS Sandown organiser Gordon Thomas.
Trade shows are a great place to discover new ideas and products, and they often act as the launchpad for the ‘bestsellers’ of tomorrow. Pet product manufacturers and suppliers see these events as a vital part of their marketing strategy because they are an ideal place to showcase their latest innovations.
Attending these exhibitions as a visiting retailer can prove very productive, as they provide the opportunity to find out what’s new and then discuss the products in detail with the relevant supplier. And events like PATS are ideal for allowing visitors to see all the new products under one roof.
But it’s important to make sure that time at trade shows, and the expense of getting there are spent wisely. And that’s where a bit of planning can help to make a day away from the shop pay handsome dividends.
So what’s the best way to plan your trip to an exhibition like PATS? Think about what you want to achieve, and how to go about it. Make a note of which exhibitors you want to see, and if possible call them beforehand to arrange a meeting on their stand.
The PATS website lists all the exhibitors and their stand numbers along with a floorplan and you can also find this in the March issue of PPM. It’s worth spending some time familiarising yourself with how the show is set up even if you haven’t been to the venue before. Once there you’ll soon find your way around as the directional signs are prominent throughout, and all the stands are well numbered. The show catalogue, which you can picked up free at the entrance to the exhibitions halls, is also a good guide to finding the location of each exhibitor.
Study the show preview in PPM as it will give you a great insight into what to expect, timings of informative seminars and other important show information.
One of the best places to start your day at PATS is the New Product Showcase situated in the Surrey Hall’s Brasserie. Here you’ll find all the latest launches from exhibitors, and once you’ve seen what you like, you can then head off to the stand of the manufacturer or supplier of that product to discuss it in more detail. There is an information card beside each product, giving details such as suggested retail price and where in the show you’ll find the item’s exhibitor.
Another popular exhibition feature is the free seminar programme. Many visitors often stumble across talks from retailing experts. They’re probably grateful of somewhere to sit down and rest their feet after walking around the event and talking to exhibitors. But once they start listening to the speakers they’re pleasantly surprised to find that the talk is of genuine interest to them. Seminar programmes are designed with a particular purpose: To add value to the visitor experience. So make sure you take a look at the wide range of topics beforehand and allocate time to attend those talks that could prove beneficial to your business.
Trade exhibitions are designed to help the retailer make the correct buying decisions, and often you can take advantage of exclusive show offers. And remember, the exhibitors want to see you and show off their products, so it puts you in a good bargaining position.
The next big show is the two-day PATS Sandown event, which opens on Tuesday, March 21. More than 140 exhibitors will be showcasing their products and services so it’s well worth a visit. Start planning your trip now.
A vacancy has recently been made available to become a member of the OASE UK team.
OASE are the worldwide market leaders in Water Gardening and pride themselves on their exciting, innovative and market leading products. In the last year OASE has expanded into the Drainage, Irrigation and Indoor Aquatics markets; including the acquisition of biOrb.
This role requires a great deal of flexibility as no two days are the same. A willingness to learn is essential; as is enthusiasm. You will need to have a keen interest in ponds or aquariums and a desire to provide excellent customer service every day.
The role will include, but is not limited to:
- Dealing with enquiries in relation to orders and products via email and phone
- Testing incoming returns and processing necessary paper work
- To attend OASE exhibitions, customer weekends and site visits when required
The role is based at our offices in Andover in Hampshire so the successful applicant will need to able to travel there each day or relocate to the area. A full driving license is essential.
At OASE we have a very friendly team who are widely regarded as the best in the industry. To join us in the next stage of our growth please contact Amanda Crook, Sales Office Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org with CV and covering letter.
Closing date: 10th February 2017
PPM heads to London to board the only doggy bus tour. The initiative was part of MORE TH>N's Doggyssentials packages which bundle together insurance, dog treats, activity trackers and food.
Consumers can tailor the package to suit both them and their dog. Find out more here.
AQUACADABRA ARE LOOKING FOR A HARD-WORKING, FRIENDLY AND ENTHUSIASTIC CUSTOMER SERVICE ADVISOR. MUST HAVE PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE.
This applicant needs to be driven and wants to do well in the business.
Starting Salary: £18,000 depending on experience and commitment could lead to a much higher salary.
28 days holiday per annum + STAFF DISCOUNT
HOURS: Monday - Friday 8.30-5.30 and possibly some Saturdays if so a day off in the week.
About the company:
Aquacadabra is the Country's leading online aquatic supplier. We specialise in all aspects of the hobby from Marines to tropical to coldwater and pond fish. We sell a huge range of products on our own websites, ebay and Amazon.
Key Job Responsibilities to include:
· Excellent customer service and administration skills;
· Excellent grammar and telephone manner;
· Strong written and oral communication skills;
· Organisational skills and punctuality;
· Experience using online payment processing;
· Basic computer skills, especially Microsoft Office and Excel.
Daily duties to include :
· Facilitate customer service telephone lines,
· Corresponding with customers via email and our support portal,
· Liaising with courier and supply companies,
· General company admin.
· Experience in a similar role
· Hard working
· Fishkeeping knowledge is an advantage but not essential, the right person will get trained
· Knowledge of Ebay,Amazon and Websites an Advantage
· Telephone manner
· Computer literate
· Communication skill
Pebzz is a brand new site that offers animal lovers the chance to do everything from starting a new career to searching its extensive pet services directory which includes:
- A pet services directory covering grooming, walking, boarding, photography, psychology and everything in between
- A vet directory, helping you with emergency or ongoing veterinary care
- A commercial property search service, helping you start your new pet business without extortionate estate agent fees
- A job board, advertising posts to work with pets
- Free pet charity advertising, promoting their events for free and facilitating re-homing, volunteering and fostering
- A free lost and found service, reuniting missing pets with their families.
Michaela Prottengeier, one of the founders of Pebzz, commented, “We are passionate animal lovers and want to help others who care about animals as much as we do. We believe connecting people who love pets can help the industry thrive, in a sustainable, responsible way, whether that’s helping people and jobs, business premises or local pet services.
Find out more at: http://pebzz.com/
Cotswold RAW is offering the crowd a 10% stake in its bustling rural business as it seeks to raise £250k that will deployed to expand its product range whilst evolving both its distribution and production infrastructure.
With some 8.5million dog owners in the UK it makes real sense to invest in a food arena which has enjoyed enviable growth, both in times of economic boom and austerity. With 1-3 dogs currently suffering from ‘obesity-related’ issues it’s vital that the same ‘healthier living’ momentum that is slowly but surely changing the face of human consumption is allowed to migrate into pet food.
With a state-of-the-art, Defra approved kitchen facility (7000sq ft) Cotswold RAW stands tall as a proud family-owned, rural voice championing human-grade ingredients (meat, bones, seasonal veg and beneficial herbs), local sourcing (wherever feasible), ingredient traceability and long-term countryside sustainability.
‘Pet humanisation’ is the popular movement which recognises that dogs are less pets and more integral members of the family, a thought-provoking realization that encourages health conscious pet owners to apply the same sensible choices to their pet’s food as they would their own: all-natural, nutrient-rich, flavoursome, the welcome presence of superfoods…
Find out more at: www.crowdcube.com/cotswoldraw
Capital at Risk #INVESTAWARE
By Claire Hamblion, Marketing Manager for Supreme Petfoods
Social media offers many opportunities for retailers and is often considered a ‘free’ marketing tool. However, anyone who has used social media will also tell you that if you consider the cost of the time it takes to create a positive social presence it can really add up. Although great content will still reach a wider audience it’s also true that social is increasingly becoming a ‘pay to play’ medium where posts or tweets need ad spend behind them to really get in front of the people that matter.
Facebook and beyond
While Facebook is still the most popular platform, most people tend to be on multiple platforms so don’t underestimate the power of You Tube and Twitter. Different platforms offer different demographics – Twitter users are usually slightly older, Instagram users tend to be younger and Linkedin tends to be used more in a business and career context. Take a look at the latest stats – Pinterest is currently over twice as popular as Instagram worldwide. Choose the medium that best suits your store.
While there are benefits to being on multiple platforms, also keep in mind that more platforms take up more time and it is probably better to be effective on one or two platforms than to spread yourself too thin and fail to make an impact. All your platforms should be monitored at least daily – and yes that includes weekends and bank holidays too. Most people expect to have a question or complaint on social media addressed within 24 hours but ideally within 60 minutes. The longer a complaint exists without moderation on your page the more likely other posters will share similar negative experiences.
Sharing news stories that are trending should help improve your reach. There are several ways to do this. On Facebook and Twitter you will usually see trending stories on your home page – use the relevant hashtags or share suitable stories with a comment. Make sure the stories are relevant to your business and reflect good pet care practice.
Some sites also help you find content –Right Relevance, Mention, Google Alerts and Klout allow you to set up topics that interest you (eg rabbits, guinea pigs, small pets) and can help you track trending or interesting pet stories. You can also actively search on interesting words within social platforms or online – examples could include hay, rabbit news, or funny stories about pets. See what’s going on in your area – sharing stories about lost pets, for example, integrates you into the local and animal owning community.
We’ve created regular events that run on our pages, such as ‘Furry Friday’. This gives the fan base something to look forward to and creates a positive association with our brands. This also helps to provide some structure for the content and reduces the burden to repeatedly come up with new ideas. Retailers can be part of Furry Friday by sharing posts.
Think about creating not just weekly repeating events but an annual calendar with seasonal events and pet related awareness days. By thinking about your content in advance you are less likely to make mistakes or forget to post when the store is busy. This also allows you to pre-load it to be published at optimum times.
Don’t be too ‘fluffy’
Know what you want to achieve from social media. Sharing photos of beautiful animals can of course help to make your page popular but might not do much for your business longer term. Educational content can help raise awareness of issues and problems and the associated products you stock. Create links back to your website or include a call to action such as ‘Buy now’.
Tell your story over several posts so your customers’ understanding builds up over time and include some good photos that help you illustrate the key points. Free design sites like Canva include professional images to buy for around a dollar and allow you to add your shop logo and/ or contact details so they are easy to see when content is shared. You can also create your own memes using this kind of tool. Make sure you mix and match with some ‘fluffy’ content too so your platforms don’t get too sales driven.
As well as follower and fan numbers, track engagement – this is easy to do on most platforms. Work out what kind of content your audience finds most engaging.
On Facebook there are options to boost posts and create ads. Even a small spend of £5 to £10 can significantly increase the reach of your content. Use the targeting options to select the geographical area of those that see your promoted content and also select the areas of interest – such as rabbits, cats or dogs. Be as specific as possible – create content just for rabbit owners for instance and not only will it build your credentials but your audience will be able to share with other rabbit owners in their community.
Keep learning more about what works by going back to the analytics and noting what people are saying when they call about products related to your posts. This will help you produce better results over time. The take home message is that using social won’t magically transform your business unless you apply the same business acumen to it as you apply to all other marketing activities. Sometimes it pays to get serious!
BY CHARLOTTE LONG
It’s estimated there are over 16 million pet cats and dogs in the UK and you don’t need to be an animal enthusiast to notice an influx of certain breeds. In 2016 it seemed people went barking mad for Pugs, French Bulldogs and Boxers (we’re looking at you John Lewis) while British Shorthairs, Bengals and Persians were the cat breeds of choice.
But it probably comes as no surprise that the loyal Labrador has stayed firmly at the top of the UK league table. The first sightings of the breed in Britain were in the late 18th century and they remain a popular choice due to their family-friendly nature.
“Based on the Kennel Club’s registration figures, the most popular dog in the UK is the Labrador Retriever,” says Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary.
“Reasons for the breed’s continued popularity may include their good temperament and tendency to make great companions. Labradors are also intelligent and agile, making them good working or assistance dogs with the right training.”
What can increase the popularity of a breed? A range of things according to Caroline: “There are many factors that can be attributed to the popularity of individual breeds. In recent years breeds that see sudden increases in popularity usually do so because of celebrities and fashion, and more recently, social media, meaning that suddenly there is a huge demand for them which can have positive and negative effects on a breed.
“The popularity of dogs on Instagram can raise awareness of breeds that people may not have come across before, but that may be suitable for their lifestyle, for example, Corgis. In recent years Pembroke Welsh Corgis were on the Kennel Club’s vulnerable breeds list but in 2015 they officially came off the list after seeing a great increase in numbers. This boost is attributed in part to several ‘famous’ Pembroke Corgis on social media channels.
“Social media can also correct misconceptions about certain breeds. Ramsey the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a great example of this because he has shown hundreds of thousands of Instagram users the true nature of his breed – friendly, loyal and charming dogs, not the aggressive dogs that the media often try to portray them as,” continues Caroline.
John Lewis’ highly anticipated Christmas advert last year made Boxers the star of the show – with Buster the Boxer bouncing on to everybody’s televisions and social media feeds. Could the breed’s jump into mainstream media mean a spike in sales this year?
The Kennel Club says internet searches for Boxers soared by 160 percent after the commercial appeared on TV.
Vikki Van-Beck, from KC-assured Boxer breeders, Newlaithe, says the advert brought up some issues: “The advert was ideal for the people who breed litters for money and have no care where their puppies end up. It’s a fantastic ad, and a credit to Biffs’ owners (although his name is Buster in the advert!), but the aftermath has to be considered.”
The RSPCA also warns about the danger of pet breed fads. In 2016 they launched a campaign after an influx of fashionable dog breeds and ‘designer’ crossbreeds were arriving at its centres.
According to the charity, responsible breeders are struggling to keep up with the demand for popular breeds, leading many prospective dog owners to turn to puppy farms and, all too often, ending up with dogs with health problems or behavioural issues. The RSPCA saw more than a 100% rise in Chihuahuas coming to their centres from 2012 to 2015, the results of the handbag dog trend. ‘Designer’ crossbreeds being abandoned such as Labradoodles (Labrador cross Poodle) and Puggles (Pug cross Beagle), have also risen. But, as has always been the case, Staffordshire Bull Terriers remain the most frequent residents.
Caroline reiterates the danger of pets being seen as fashion statements: “We also often see trends in dog breeds being influenced by celebrities, which is a concern, as it implies that dogs may be seen as fashion accessories rather than a long term commitment. Battersea Cats & Dogs Home have seen an increase of larger, working dogs at their centres because of certain popular television shows. “In recent years, we have seen a rise in the number of Huskies, Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes coming through our doors. These beautiful dogs have seen their popularity soar thanks to TV series such as Game of Thrones. But you need a lot of space and time to look after one of these dogs, with the energy and knowledge to look after their needs,” says Centre Manager Robert Young.
“Domestic Shorthairs are by far the most common breed of cat in the UK so that’s why we see so many of them come through our doors,” adds Robert.
Cat breed popularity seems less susceptible to the influence of celebrity, TV and social media. But there’s no denying that interest in our feline friends has increased ten fold since the birth of the World Wide Web. Almost half of all original YouTube videos are of people’s pets, and around 26 billion views are just for cats, making them the single most popular category.
Dog and cat breed popularity will forever be evolving – and there are many positives to that, for example certain breeds being taken off endangered lists. But it’s important to remind potential owners that a pet is not the latest handbag, it’s a long-term commitment.
HMRC is targeting the dishonest minority of traders that cheat the system and last year set up a taskforce to tackle tax evasion in the industry. Dogs and puppies fetch considerable sums of money on the illicit market and HMRC’s research suggests that it’s a multi-million pound industry, with tens of thousands of animals sold each year.
In a black or illicit market, sales are generally not declared because of the underground nature of the activity, and when dishonest breeders and sellers in the industry don’t pay the tax they owe, they make it difficult for honest traders to compete in the marketplace.
HMRC’s taskforce is tackling those fraudsters who breed puppies and sell them on for a hefty profit –but don’t declare their sales – with a full range of civil and criminal enforcement powers.
“What we are looking at is the black market where people aren’t paying any tax on the sale of hundreds of thousands of puppies, and some of them are being reared in unregulated conditions”, says HMRC’s taskforce project lead Graeme Mutter.
“Our taskforce teams are investigating these cases and we are using our civil and criminal enforcement powers to tackle the people behind it. We are supported by animal welfare charities RSPCA and Scottish equivalent, the SSPCA and the police.”
The UK’s tax authority is also working with a number of external partners to cause disruption to this industry, making it less attractive for anyone who might either be involved or thinking about becoming involved.
Anyone with information regarding tax evasion is encouraged to contact HMRC’s hotline on 0800 788887.
Laughing Dog, one of the few pet food manufacturers in the UK to bake its entire range of dry dog food at its family-run farm in Lincolnshire, has celebrated its 80th birthday.
Established in 1936, the dog food company has been traditionally oven-baking its wholesome recipes for 80 years. Originally formed in Dunchurch, Coventry, the well-loved brand joined Fold Hill Foods family in 2008 and since then has become an integral part of the company’s heritage.
To mark this special occasion, Laughing Dog’s entire workforce, bakers and non-bakers, hosted a company bake off. Everyone was invited to enter a baked creation from traditional family favourites to taste-bud ticklers.
Taisie Grant, granddaughter of Fold Hill’s founder Ted Grant, and the day’s nominated bake-off judge says: “While our 1936 Laughing Dog recipes are still some of our bestsellers, we are very proud to be able to combine our traditional methods with exciting and new innovation, ensuring that our delicious and nutritious recipes are constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity while remaining true to our original values. It’s also been an opportunity to support a local charity, Jerry Green Dog Rescue, with all donations for cakes and biscuits going to the cause.”
While oven baking is a much slower process compared to the more conventional process of extrusion which involves cooking at high speed and pressure, Laughing Dog firmly believes it is a much gentler process. Baking helps to better protect the natural ingredients, as well as creating a uniquely crisp and crunchy kibble which helps to slow down fast eaters and keeps teeth clean and breath fresh too.
Laughing Dog’s Farm Bakery range of dry completes and mixer meals is available in wheat free and grain free varieties, and its Farm Kitchen range of wet completes is grain free. For further information, please visit www.laughingdogfood.com, email email@example.com or call (Freephone) 0800 098 8057. For more information about Jerry Green, visit www.jerrygreendogs.org.uk.
The world’s first ever city tour bus for dogs, where every element of the experience caters to man’s best friend, is opening in London.
Created by MORE TH>N DOGGYSSENTI>LS, the bus tour invites owners and their dogs to experience a whistle-stop sightseeing experience of London like no other.
The carefully crafted bus route sees dogs taken to some of London’s best parks and city centre dog walking spots, including Hyde Park, Kensington Palace Gardens and Green Park. Along the way, live onboard commentary for dog owners lifts the lid on London’s rich canine history, including the ministerial dogs of Downing Street, the many corgis that have shared Buckingham Palace with the Queen and the location of London’s only dog cemetery.
The route itself centres on a number of London’s most scenic dog-walking hotspots, including Hyde Park and Green Park, for owners to disembark the bus and take their pooch for a stroll if they choose. Guests will also be provided with a handy leaflet mapping dog-friendly pubs, bars and restaurants in the area, where owner and dog can refuel together post-walk.
When you imagine a factory, I wonder what you visualise. For me, it was conveyor belts, robots and noise. But when PPM was given the chance to meet Bucktons Brand Manager Kirk Rothwell at the bird care factory in Driffield, East Yorkshire and have a tour, we couldn’t resist.
Just a couple of months ago, Bucktons achieved the highest food safety standard accreditation from the British Retail Consortium – the AA Grade. Once inside the factory, we could see why. Everything has its place and traceability is key. We asked Kirk, why will this grading set them apart?
"We have held the highest accreditation from the BRC for the last seven years, across a stringent set of criteria, covering everything from processes, hygiene and safety, to full traceability of ingredients. To achieve the newly created AA grade from the BRC, sets us above the competition and this standard means both retailers and shoppers can trust our products to be the best quality in the UK.” The facility recently underwent a £1.5m investment to manufacture suet products and now produces 99 percent of its own food range in-house.
We were given the full factory tour starting with a lab area that resembles a sweet shop – albeit one containing nuts and fruit. Everything is catalogued and great emphasis is placed upon knowing the origins of all the ingredients used in the process, right down to the smallest grain.
This room is quiet but it’s one of the most important places in the building. Heading out of there, we went into the warehouse, which has a huge capacity able to service the needs of larger retailers such as Pets at Home to the smaller ones. Stacked high, you’ll find all of the company’s best loved products – most of which I wanted to take home! Priding themselves on quality suet products, I was able to pick up some of the suet balls as they popped out of the machine – it was amazing to see how well formed they were and feel the quality of them. Every process inside the factory is perfectly orchestrated – watching the packing whizz around to be filled with product and then sealed was mesmerising. Of course, machines and robots play a huge part in the manufacturing process but Bucktons doesn’t rely on machines, with humans keeping a close eye on quality control.
If something doesn’t look right, it won’t make it through. With a real finger on the pulse of technology, it’s amazing to think that the company began 200 years ago when George Buckton founded a general mechants company in Hull.
This was the man who was known for shipping produce and exotic ingredients from distant lands. The company was sold on to the Hutchinson family in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until the 1960s, that it became a staple of the pet industry and developed into the business we know today.
Known primarily for its bird food, the company became part of Westland Horticulture in 2012.
Today, Bucktons’ range of aviary bird food is extremely popular. Its canary food and parrot food in particular include Spiralife – a sort of superfood for birds. Containing added vitamins A+D, anti-oxidants and calcium, it’s a far cry from the cuttlefish granny used to feed Polly!
Visiting the factory and meeting all the people that help create these premium products is a great reminder of just how important it is to fuse technology with people power, heritage with innovation and great packaging with an even greater product.
So next time a customer comes into your shop asking for birdfood for wild – or aviary birds, you’ll be able to tell them the story behind Bucktons and why this AA rating should matter to them. Traceability is a hot issue and one that every food business must embrace.
To find out more about the range or to stock Bucktons products, please visit: www.bucktons.co.uk.
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