As the pet humanisation movement continues to grow, Pankaj Hurria chats about the launch of Tiana Halal-friendly cat food after he spotted a gap in the market.
Pankaj and Umar.
Pankaj is the founder of Tiana Halal pet food after recognising a niche in the pet food offering. He spotted this space in the market while already working in the pet product industry as a lead buyer for a leading retailer, so has years of experience in the sector.
Tiana has a big vision to be the next significant milestone in the pet humanisation movement, establishing itself as the world’s first Halal-approved cat food portfolio made with best-in-class human grade ingredients and a sustainable planet outlook.
If one recognises that the ever-expanding pet humanisation trend already encompasses every imaginable food ‘minority interest’ from grain-free, bio-organic, BARF and paleo to vegan and dietary specific (gut health, hypoallergenic, dental, joints….), perhaps it wasn’t too hard to conceive the need for a first mover in Halal-friendly food choices.
The inspiration for Halal-approved pet food is a good story. While Pankaj is someone who knows the pet food sector inside out, it was actually good old-fashioned experience and a chance conversation that led him into launching Tiana.
According to Tiana founder, Pankaj Hurria: “As a recognised senior petfood buyer, I’d always prided myself as being someone with my finger on the petfood category pulse, especially with regards to a rapidly evolving cat food aisle that was moving fast to keep track of this lower maintenance pet’s thriving popularity, (a understandable response to increasingly hectic, urban lifestyles, where cravings for companionship is often coupled with growing numbers of millennials opting out of parenthood).
“That said, I was wrong-footed when a family friend asked if any Halal-approved cat food would be available any time soon, because she, like many of her friends, had to resort to well-intentioned yet time-consuming recipes (or fish-themed brands) that might well be light in essential feline nutrients.”
Researching the market
Pankaj did a some digging around and quickly calculated that there were some 500,000 Muslim cat owners in the UK not being accommodated. His vision was to pioneer a range of unrivalled recipes made with only human-grade ingredients that met his dual goals of ‘pure food, pure intentions.’
Tiana’s target market was clearly defined and flourishing, namely an increasingly influential segment of well-educated, professional women with moderate (liberal) religious leanings. Early doors conversations with the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) certainly suggested that Pankaj had stumbled across a vibrant fast-growing niche.
PIF reported: “Tiana Halal Pet Foods are a member of the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) who have unearthed a fascinating and unique niche in the pet food market and have undertaken thorough market research to ensure that every aspect of their unique range meets the distinct needs of cats and their owners in the Muslim community.”
As a long-standing expert in an increasingly diverse cat food category, Pankaj became convinced that he’d uncovered an incredible category opening. However, as a practicing Hindu, it was vital he sought out well-informed friends with a respected Muslim perspective. Umar is both a good friend and a respected director of a full-service communications agency, with an unrivalled grasp of modern Muslim millennial needs.
Pankaj explains: “Umar and I worked side-by-side conducting an exploratory four-week online campaign during Ramadan and the responses were nothing short of exceptional with 5,000 followers across an array of social channels joining the Tiana cause in the blink of an eye, and my good friend Umar becoming a significant stakeholder in the business.”
THE TIAN RANGE
With a proven market that had been well-researched and tested, Pankaj set about turning the Tiana dream into a reality. Now, the brand is on the market and reflecting the key values that Pankaj believes in.
He says: “Hopefully the stylish, vibrant look of the Tiana packaging provides a strong sense that we’ve left no stone unturned in our pursuit of clean-deck, best-in-class recipes made with trusted human-grade ingredients.”
Since the start of July, Tiana has been available in three deliciously distinct flavours: chicken, fish, and a particularly popular goat whose rich, gamey undertones provides a welcome alternative to traditional British farmyard fayre. The portfolio will also contain a highly sought-after shrimp later in the year.
“In the first instance, we’ll be focusing on 35g trial packs to win over category early adopters,” says Pankaj. “These stylish looking packs, when mixed with water, will provide 3.5 days of nutritious meals. As Tiana’s following grows, the business will focus its efforts on its 250/500g retail packs which will initially target D2C (where significant pent-up demand already exists) and Asian grocery hot-spots, where much-loved independent stores still dominate. That said, the Tiana team have already held a number of positive provisional chats with a sprinkling of the nation’s most respected nationwide pet food retailers, so don’t be surprised to see this fledgling brand race out of the blocks over the next few months.”
As well as meeting the demand for Halal-approved cat food, an important part of the brand is sustainability and protecting the environment.
Pankaj says: “Tiana is a brand that seamlessly marries traditional scholarly thinking with new age tech since this is a freeze-dried range using the most up to date production methods to reduce its impact on an increasingly fragile planet. By refusing to transport the 70% moisture that is needlessly shipped hither and thither, this is a business that’s primed to significantly curtail its carbon footprint, which means this is an operation primed not simply for the UK marketplace but export because cats’ snowballing popularity are now a global phenomenon.
“By keeping its recipes simple and ‘free from’ traditional, ‘old-school’ production methods there’s simply no need to replace lost nutrients with any synthetic supplements and amino acids that might have been lost using old heat-based production methods.
“In essence,” concludes Pankaj, “I believe Tiana is perfectly placed to support today’s increasingly well-informed and eclectic market-place where one-size-fits all solutions are thankfully no longer the norm.”
If you want to learn more about the Tiana brand and about their Halal offering, visit Tianahalalpetfood.com
Tiana is the latest innovation in the cat food market.
Tiana have worked hard to create packaging which reflects the value of their product.