What Sojos Stands For
General manager Jen Loesch explains how Minneapolis-based Sojos focuses on delivering safe, natural, farm-fresh nutrition in the raw, shelf-stable food and treats category.
We hear that you are now expanding on the puppy offering that debuted last year. Tell us about the life-stage options Sojos is launching.
Jen Loesch: We launched the first raw, shelf-stable food specially blended for mature dogs at SuperZoo 2017. New Sojos Complete for Seniors includes targeted nutrients to help support specific age-related needs—like glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. Together with last year’s introduction of Sojos Complete for Puppies, and this year’s newly reformulated Sojos Complete for Adults, the new senior recipe rounds out our full range of life-stage offerings for dogs.
Specific to Sojos Complete for Adults, the full line has been reformulated with added protein and whole ingredients—for a meatier, chunkier blend. What’s more, the reformulated recipes are now available in Sojos Complete Trial-Size—a 4-ounce resealable bag that offers three to five partial servings. Trial-Size is perfect for sampling, exploring variety or even beginning the transition to raw nutrition entirely.
Why is it important to have life-stage specific foods? What drove the company to develop a full line of these products?
Loesch: Clearly both puppy acquisition and changes in life stage are key occasions for concerned pet parents to reconsider their food choices. That said, we’re always looking for opportunities to introduce the transformative power of uncompromised farm-fresh nutrition—whether helping to get puppies off to the best possible start, boosting the nutritional value of adult dogs’ existing diet or enhancing quality of life for seniors. Our new, tailored life-stage offerings make it easier and more intuitive than ever to discover the difference raw nutrition can make.
What else are you introducing this year, and how does it meet a need in the market?
Loesch: In July, we also introduced new Sojos ProteinPlus Toppers, a simple and nutritious way to add a boost of uncompromised protein to dogs’ mealtime routines. With just six total ingredients, each recipe combines 90 percent turkey, beef or lamb with broccoli, green peas, apples, cranberries and blueberries.
More and more pet parents are curious about the benefits of feeding their dog a raw diet, but they don’t know where to start. Sojos’ new ProteinPlus Toppers offer an easy, pour-and-serve way to “plus up” the foods they’re currently feeding with an extra measure of protein and select superfoods.
Whether introducing new pet parents to the health benefits of raw nutrients or giving regular Sojos feeders a new way to add variety to their dog’s mealtime routine, we’ve created these new toppers to offer a convenient, affordable way to do both.
How will Sojos be marketing and promoting these introductions? What tools will be available to your retail partners that want to tout these products to their shoppers?
Loesch: Like always, we’re doing everything we can to support our retailers—including comprehensive training, point-of-sale tools and targeted social/digital media—to make a clear, common sense case for the advantages of Sojos’ easy, affordable and safe uncompromised food, toppers and treats.
What drives Sojos to continue to improve upon existing products and innovate in new directions?
Loesch: From day one we’ve worked to introduce a new and better way to think about pet food. Now, after over 20 years, it’s gratifying to see category momentum building as more and more people discover the transformative power of uncompromised nutrition. From healthy skin, coat, teeth and gums to a strong immune system to a reduction in allergies, it’s adding up to longer, healthier lives.
Where does the pet-owning public stand on raw foods today? Are you still seeing increasing acceptance and demand for these products as time passes?
Loesch: We’re continuing to see a fundamental shift to healthy, high-quality raw diets. As a result, shelf-stable raw alternatives have moved beyond a niche—and are now legitimate challengers to the long-standing dominance of traditional food forms.
Today’s concerned pet parent is hyper-focused on nutrition as the key to whole body health and longevity. And raw food has become an important part of this movement, with pet parents looking for safe, convenient ways to feed their pets the freshest ingredients possible.
In what ways can pet specialty retailers help to continue to dispel any lingering concerns or misconceptions about raw feeding?
Loesch: No doubt some pet parents still find the leap from kibble or canned to raw alternatives intimidating. Presumed time-consuming prep, cost and food safety are all common concerns, particularly when considering frozen or made-from-scratch homemade raw. That’s why it’s important for pet specialty retailers to be ready to introduce their customers to user-friendly category alternatives—alternatives that combine the shelf-stable convenience of kibble or canned with the superior nutrition of raw. That said, many successful retailers talk in human terms, equating diets like Sojos as an easy, safe way to serve their pets minimally processed “homemade” meals with no hassles and no guesswork.
Food safety continues to be a big concern and hot topic in the pet food market. How does Sojos ensure the safety of its products?
Loesch: For starters, we source only human-grade ingredients—with nothing from China. Our heat-free freeze-drying process eliminates the risk of food-borne pathogens while ensuring the uncompromised taste and nutrition in raw meat. And equally important, we prepare everything under our own roof—always with meticulous care and quality as our No. 1 priority.
What can we expect to see from Sojos in the future?
Loesch: Today, as always, our mission is transforming the lives of pets. The long-standing quality of our recipes and the benefits pets have experienced stand as evidence of our success. But you can be sure we’re not taking our foot off the pedal. We’ve built an exciting portfolio of food, toppers and treats—with lots more to come. And category momentum is surging. Working together with our retail partners, the opportunity to introduce the power of Sojos’ natural, farm-fresh nutrition has never been greater.