San Diego-based PETCO Health and Wellness Co. (NASDAQ: WOOF) continues to strive to be a better steward of the environment.
Three PETCO stores in San Diego as well as two in Los Angeles have started offering dog kibble out of a bulk bin-type of system at test stations from Canidae, an independently owned pet food company headquartered in Connecticut.
Canidae’s Kibble Refill Stations are at PETCO stores at 3495 Sports Arena Blvd., 8290 Mira Mesa Blvd. and 11160 Rancho Carmel Drive in San Diego.
The refill stations operate like bulk gravity-feed coffee bean systems in supermarkets and were created specifically for dog food.
Dog food buyers will be able to purchase reusable zipper bag as part of a self-serve system, eliminating the need for single-use reinforced plastic. According to research conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Pet Sustainability Coalition, it is estimated that 300 million pounds of plastic pet food and treat bags are generated in the United States every year – and that 99 percent of that packaging is disposed of in a landfill rather than recycled.
As a health and wellness company, PETCO is “acutely aware of our society’s collective impact on our planet’s natural resources,” said Shari White, PETCO vice president of merchandising.
White said the company’s exclusive partnership with Canidae helps people reduce their single-use plastic consumption, part of PETCO’s commitment to “driving positive change across our business, industry and the world at large by offering pets and pet parents more products made with sustainable ingredients and/or materials.”
PETCO is committed to increasing its assortment of sustainable products because it believes “what’s good for pets, people and our planet is good for Petco.”
Canidae CEO Bret Furio said there is a reason the company – which says it makes “every business decision in hopes of doing good for pets, people, and the planet” – chose Southern California first for the rollout of the refill stations.
“Any list of the country’s greenest cities is going to include San Diego, home to a host of progressive policies and a strong support of environmentally-friendly movements, so we felt that this would be a great place to kick off some of our initial Kibble Refill Station tests,” said Bret Furio, who leads a team of more than 150 employees across 22 states in the U.S.
“We also have some locations in the L.A. metropolitan area (Burbank and Pasadena), but San Diego was always high on our list, both for the support we expected here, but also because PETCO, our partner in this endeavor, has its headquarters in the San Diego area.”
Canidae says this plan is geared toward preventing half a million dog food bags from winding up in landfills by 2030. The company says it will be able to pass the savings from less packaging needs onto consumers, at the same time it looks to eliminate supply chain slowdowns and reduce reliance on plastic resin.
Money Saving Opportunity
Consumers can expect to save up to 45 percent off manufacturer’s suggested retail price per pound on their purchases, Canidae officials say.
The station offers consumers their choice of two Canidae formulas for $2.75 a pound. Four pounds of Canidae Pure kibble from a refill station, for example, would save a consumer more than $9 per bag as opposed to a regular, pre-packaged 4-pound bag.
More kibble stations are expected to be rolled out nationwide this year, with 100 up and running by June 2022.
Furio said the company is planning to open additional kibble stations in SoCal, including several more in San Diego.
“With the introduction of the Kibble Refill Stations, Canidae expects to eliminate the need for 50,000 dog food bags in the first year of this program alone,” Furio said. “We’ve set a goal for ourselves to eliminate more than 80 percent of our plastic packaging in the next eight years, and this is a major step forward for the industry.”
Furio said that as part of the system’s development, the company also rethought the way the bulk kibble is distributed to stores. He said that in addition to the reusable zippered bags that consumers will use to take the kibble home, Canidae has moved to fully recyclable bulk bags.
“As an unexpected benefit, the elimination of single-use bags also allows Canidae to mitigate supply chain constraints related to packaging development, as well as some additional cost savings that we were able to pass directly on to the consumer.”
Commenting on social media for a celebration of the Canidae refill rollout at the PETCO in Burbank, Furio wrote, “We still have a long way to go to truly positively disrupt the Pet Food Industry, but this is a major first step and we are just getting started.”
PETCO’s White said the company is always looking for ways to improve the lives of pets, pet parents and its employees, and that sustainable products is part of its growth and progression into the future.
“To operate responsibly in all aspects of our business, we’re prioritizing products made with more sustainable ingredients and/or materials, such as alternative proteins or recycled content,” she said.
White also said that the company would be accelerating current sustainability initiatives in packaging, logistics, transportation, service delivery and more as a way to lower its carbon footprint, increase energy efficiencies and reduce waste across its entire supply chain and operations.
Canidae Pet Food Company
CEO: Bret Furio
FOUNDERS: Scott Whipple and John Gordon
HEADQUARTERS: Stamford, Conn.
BUSINESS: Pet food
REVENUE: $2.1 million (2019)
NOTABLE: Canidae in 2016 launched a farm in Cheney, Kan., where it began growing its own ingredients for the company’s pet food products.
PETCO Health and Wellness Company, Inc.
CEO: Ron Coughlin Jr.
FOUNDERS: Walter Evans
HEADQUARTERS: San Diego
BUSINESS: Pet supplies
REVENUE: $4.9 billion (2021)
STOCK: WOOF: NASDAQ
NOTABLE: PETCO started as United Pharmacal Company, a mail-order veterinary supply business, with its first retail store opening in La Mesa in 1976.