10 August 2017
With a fresh approach and premium ingredients, New Zealand’s K9 Natural is taking pet nutrition back to basics – and winning over pets and their owners around the world.
In downtown Seattle on a bright spring day, hundreds of dog owners have brought their pets to sample the delights at Bone Appetit - a pop-up café hosted by one of Seattle’s most famous chefs, John Lark. On the menu is grass-fed New Zealand beef and lamb, accompanied by green-lipped mussel, egg, and bone powder.
The latest in carb-free diets? A new dogfriendly restaurant? Yes, both. Held across Seattle, Sydney and Auckland, these pop-up cafés are the brainchild of New Zealand pet food company K9 Natural. Dogs are delighted and their owners are literally bowled over.
“You see these dogs just about ripping their owners’ arms off trying to get the food,” says chief executive Neil Hinton.
K9 Natural’s grain-free, high-meat approach is not only scientifically proven, but also a lesson in business disruption in a sector dominated by multinationals. New Zealand police dog handler Geoff Bowers founded the company after becoming frustrated at the dominance of carb-heavy dog food, despite dogs being naturally wired to eat meat. He started developing frozen and freeze-dried meat alternatives to mainstream dog foods, and a successful business was born.
K9 Natural’s products are now available in over 25 countries, with surging demand in China and the United States. The company has expanded its range to include cat food, canned food and ‘toppers’ (small servings that help transition pets from carbs to meat), and expects to double its revenue every three years.
With ingredients sourced from New Zealand processors who also produce human-grade meat, the country’s reputation for pure, safe food is a big draw for K9 Natural’s ideal customers: pet owners around the world who lavish affection on their ‘fur babies’ and demand products of the highest quality.
“For these people, the purity of New Zealand really appeals. Our reputation for grass-fed, ethically sourced meat is a powerful way to connect,” says Head of Marketing Jo O’Sullivan. “But it’s not just our land. It’s our attitude too – we’re having fun and giving it a real go. People love that.”
Original article authored by NZ Story and first published in Kia Ora Magazine, August 2017.