WORDS BY Caroline Davis
Given that dogs and cats are the most popular pets after pond and indoor fish (8.5 million dogs owned by 24% of households in the UK, and 7.5 million cats owned by 17%; PFMA), selling pet food products aimed at this market is a lucrative business if you hone your knowledge of canine and feline nutrition and set out your stall accordingly.
Kitten and puppy foods (wet and dry) are a must on your shelves, since pet parents like to think/be assured they are providing the best life-stage nutrition for their baby, so a good variety of choice is essential to meet all pockets and owner requirements.
While kittens and pups tend to gobble up anything and everything that’s put in front of them, an increasing number of owners are leaning towards ethically produced, organic and grain-free foods. The mark-up on these products tends to be greater, so this line of food is a great baseline profit earner.
Ensure you stock various brands from basic ‘no frills’ to the more luxury end with packaging that’s undoubtedly going to appeal more to owners than the contents do to their pets, especially where kittens are concerned – works every time. And don’t forget your ‘power aisle’ or ‘action alley’ for one-off promotions, which do tend to be popular with customers.
Puppy food brands comprise a balanced diet for growing puppies, with some manufacturers also producing breed-specific complete food for pups, formulated to a particular type’s life stage and bodily needs.
Because there are so many different foods to choose from, which can be bewildering for a new puppy or kitten owner, it really helps boost business if customers can get advice from friendly and helpful staff in store, or on the phone, so an up-to-date working knowledge of canine and feline nutrition should be a basic staff requirement.