Natural Variety Emphasized in Protein-Based Pet Diets
By Scott and Ann Springer
With the explosion of low-carb, high-protein diets for humans, the pet industry has
followed suit and seen much interest and growth in this line of pet nutrition.
President of Nature's Variety
Nature's Variety, a pet food manufacturer located in Lincoln, Neb., has had success with a relatively new line of high-protein diets.
"We emphasize feeding meat as opposed to grain to the maximum extent possible," says Dick Countryman, vice president of sales and marketing for MI Industries, makers of Nature's Variety. "Our products are high quality and high meat-based, and that makes them unique in the marketplace."
Three years ago, MI Industries saw the trend happening in human nutrition and created Nature's Variety to fill the niche in the pet industry. Previous to that time, MI Industries predominantly occupied a spot in the all-natural roasted meat and bone treat market segment of the industry, Countryman says.
"It was the idea of the company founder Bob Milligan and a colleague of his, Scott
Freeman, who put their ideas together to take advantage of the trend of high-protein, all-natural diets in the United States and Europe," Countryman says. "Scott had the ideas, and Bob had the capital and vision to bring it together."
Nature's Variety also manufactures such lines as kibble, canned food, raw frozen and freeze-dried diets. Also offered isa modest line of supplements, Countryman says.
Nature's Variety has recently released a venison diet targeted for dogs.
"We try to give a variety of dietary choices, and venison adds to that. The key to the venison diet is that it is consistent with our feeding strategy, which is rotation," Countryman says.
Typically, a dog owner feeds the same diet continually for the pet's entire lifetime, Countryman says.
"A growing body of evidence suggests that this kind of feeding strategy can create
various kinds of allergic conditions."
Nature's Variety plans to take a strong educational role to help expand its business. "Our plan is to grow the business by means of consumer education and by working with major pet industry influences, such as veterinarians, breeders and performance show winners," Countryman says. "Because of the nature of our products, the educational component is a key for product acceptance."