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Freshpet, Petco Launch Industry-First Partnership

RETAIL: Customized Fresh Pet Food Subscription Delivered Directly to Doors

Who let the dog food in? Woof! Woof! Woof!

San Diego-headquartered Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: WOOF) and an East Coast pet food company have forged an innovative industry-first partnership that offers customized fresh pet food subscription delivered directly to pet parents’ homes.

Freshpet (NASDAQ: FRPT) of Secaucus, New Jersey, is making Petco the first national brick-and-mortar pet retailer to offer a fresh pet food subscription of this kind through its new e-commerce brand: Freshpet Custom Meals.

Available exclusively at Petco.com, Freshpet Custom Meals recipes are made with natural chicken, beef, salmon or eggs, plus fruit and vegetables. The meals are crafted for optimal dog nutrition by veterinary nutritionists.

A report by Veterinarians.org, LLC said that Freshpet’s ingredients are wholesome; the nutrition is complete, balanced and only comes from natural sources; and because it is made with light steam cooking, the natural nutrients are retained and is very close to a dog’s natural diet.

Amy College
Chief Merchandising Officer
Petco

“As a leader in high-quality pet nutrition, Petco offers a differentiated, curated assortment of exclusive brand offerings and innovative concepts that deliver on our commitment to complete pet health and wellness,” said Amy College, Petco’s chief merchandising officer.

“This exclusive, customized home-delivered product is a breakthrough in the way pet parents can provide their pets with the very best nutrition,” she added. “We’re thrilled to partner with Freshpet, the leader in fresh pet food, to bring Freshpet Custom Meals to life through our differentiated, seamless omnichannel ecosystem, as part of our ongoing commitment to pets’ high-quality nutrition and complete health and wellness.”

Petco was founded in 1965 as a health and wellness company focused on improving the lives of pets, pet parents and its own Petco partners. It operates more than 1,500 pet care centers across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Scott Morris
Co-founder, COO and President
Freshpet

Founded in 2006 by Scott Morris, Cathal Walsh and John Phelps, Freshpet went public in November 2014.

Freshpet’s premise is that its dog food is less processed and made with simpler ingredients than traditional dry food, so it is easier to digest, more nutritious and higher in protein. Freshpet recipes are cooked at lower temperatures and then quickly cooled in order to retain natural vitamins and nutrients, the company says.

Co-founder Morris, the COO and president of Freshpet, called watching the demand for fresh pet food continue to grow is “exciting.”

“As shoppers seek healthier, real food for their pets, they’re also looking for solutions that provide added convenience,” Morris said. “Our partnership with Petco allows us to deliver on both – creating customized healthy meal plans delivered to consumers’ doorsteps.”

Top players globally in the fresh pet food market, which is projected to reach $6 billion by 2027, include Freshpet, The Farmer’s Dog, Just Food For Dogs, Ollie Fresh and Evermore.

In 2022, American Pet Products reported that the U.S pet industry expenditure was at $103.6 billion and rising, and Petfood Industry reported that U.S. pet food sales reached $77.5 billion last year, with online purchases and subscriptions of pet food and related products reaching an all-time high. According to Statista, dog owners spend an average of $442 on dog food every year, with numbers anticipated to increase because of changes in diet options and enhancement of food quality for pets.

Petco sees pet owners continuing the shift to fresh food for their pets, noting that Freshpet Custom Meals are the result of increasing consumer interest in direct-to-doorstep fresh, personalized pet meal plans.

“Freshpet is the leading fresh pet food brand, and our partnership validates the power of Petco’s unique omnichannel ecosystem to bring Freshpet Custom Meals to market,” College said. “The offering features brand new Freshpet recipes that pet parents can order via petco.com exclusively, and they are formulated to help support pets’ individual needs and health goals, including weight management, healthy mobility, heart health, skin and coat and sensitive stomachs.”

The partnership between Petco and Freshpet has launched regionally across 15 states, including California, Texas, Florida and New York, and will be available nationally via petco.com later this year.

Starting the subscription requires pet parents to fill out a short questionnaire on their dog’s attributes, sensitivities and health goals on petco.com. A personalized meal plan with specific feeding guidelines based on the pet’s breed, age, body type, activity level and more will be offered at that point and then pet parents can select a preferred delivery window for the food to be sent via Petco’s delivery services.

The subscription meal plan starts at $3 per day. Petco customers can receive a discount that is automatically applied to their first order. For more information, visit petco.com/custommeals.

PETCO Health and Wellness Company, Inc.

FOUNDED: 1965
CEO: Ron Coughlin
HEADQUARTERS: San Diego
BUSINESS: Pet supplies
REVENUE: $6 billion (2022)
STOCK: WOOF (NASDAQ)
EMPLOYEES: 27,000 (in 1,500 stores)
WEBSITE: Petco.com
NOTABLE: PETCO started as United Pharmacal Company, a mail-order veterinary supply business, with its first retail store opening in La Mesa in 1976.

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