Natura Pet Products, a division of Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati, has changed its policy to allow pet specialty chains to offer its Innova brand pet food and treats. Petsmart, which operates more than 1,187 stores throughout North America, has already signed on to carry Innova products.
Innova, as with all other Natura brands, has been exclusive to independent pet specialty retailers since its launch in 1993. Now the brand is also being made available to regional and national pet specialty retailers.
This change in policy is aimed increasing the brand’s awareness and availability, as well as meeting an increase in consumer demand natural, organic and holistic products, said Jim Wall, vice president of sales for Natura.
“By expanding the availability of the Innova line within pet specialty, we’re able to make the product more available to consumers who are looking for products in the natural, organic, holistic segment,” Wall said.
|Natura's Innova brand cat and dog food products, previously exclusive to the independent channel, are now available to regional and national pet specialty stores.|
Out of all of Natura's brands, Innova is best positioned for the change, Wall said. Not only is it one of the company’s strongest brands, but Innova is also better suited to meet the needs of regional/national pet specialty store customers who want natural and organic pet food, Wall said.
“This brand is more easily understood by someone, and it doesn’t require that level of expertise and education that you find with independent pet stores,” Wall said.
While the reseller policy has changed, Wall was quick to note that a number of things haven’t, such as the company’s philosophy and its commitment to sourcing quality ingredients. Also, manufacturing and research and development will also remain in Fremont, Neb., he said.
Retailers who meet certain criteria will be able to order Innova products direct from Natura’s plant in Fremont. To order direct, retailers cannot carry any other Natura brands and must meet minimum order requirements, among other requirements.
Petsmart reported today that it will begin selling Innova dog and cat food in May. The addition of Innova “acknowledges a trend in pet parents wanting healthy food options with recognizable, natural ingredients for their pets,” Petsmart said.
“Our goal is a happier life for every pet parent and their pet, and supporting pet parents in optimizing the health of their pet is the first step in achieving this objective,” said Michael Sapp, vice president of merchandising for PetSmart. “With Innova, our pet parents can feel confident they are giving their pets the high-quality nutrients they need in a food that is minimally processed without added chemicals.”
Natura’s new distribution policy does not affect the company’s other brands, Evo, California Natural, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma. They will remain exclusive to the independent pet specialty channel.
Natura remains committed to the independents and has made a number of investments in the channel, Wall said. For example, the company launched a frequent buyer program for independents only that is 100 percent funded by Natura, and last month, the company launched a new retail growth incentive program. In addition, Natura is developing promotions specific to and for independent pet specialty.
“We’re creating a level playing field for the pet specialty independents to be able to compete on all of the Natura brands,” Wall said.<HOME>
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