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Independent Retailers Demand More Transparency from Food Companies


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It’s been more than a decade since mass recalls of pet food found to include harmful contaminants disrupted the entire market and spurred pet owners to become far more scrutinizing of the foods they buy for their animal companions. However, today, more than ever, independent pet specialty retailers are demanding more transparency from their vendor partners on behalf of their pet-owning customers. While most would agree that progress has been made in this respect over the past decade, retailers report that food companies can still do more to set their minds at ease by providing detailed information about ingredients, sourcing and manufacturing. 

Here’s what a few retailers had to say:

Do you think that most pet food and treat companies are sufficiently transparent in their practices, and what would you like to see in the future?

“I have seen transparency improve over the last few years, especially through the small newer pet food manufacturers. I would like to see greater focus and support for indies—after all it’s the indies who get new brands established and growing!”—Michael Levy, founder of Pet Food Express, a multistore chain in California


“What I’d like to see is more accountability, more oversight, better controls, the inclusion of kcals, the inclusion of sourcing, the inclusion of grade of meats used, the breakdowns of protein percentages in regards to meat versus plant protein, more honesty and more transparency. I’d also like manufacturers to stop making ‘proprietary’ excuses. There are only so many suppliers of ingredients and only so many co-packers and canneries. If I wanted to copy their food, it’s only a pretty insignificant cost to have it analyzed and find out what’s in it. But to be honest, I might as well be wishing for a unicorn.”—Lorin​ Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif. 


“I do not think most pet food and treat companies are transparent enough, but I don’t think that the industry will solve that. It is going to take regulation.”—B.C. Henschen, a partner at Platinum Paws in Carmel, Ind.


To read more on what retailers and pet owners are demanding from manufacturers and how these companies are responding, check out PPN’s story on the Made in the USA category in the January issue. 

Lindsey Getz contributed to this report. 

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