Bone Marché marks Lund Food’s foray into the pet-store business. Photo courtesy of Bone Marché
Pet Health and Wellness
Regardless of the economy, pet owners continue to purchase for their pets with a decided focus on health and wellness, he said. They are seeking out premium dog and cat foods, treats, health care products and dietary supplements.
Consumer buying patterns for their pets began to increasingly mimic their patterns for human products about five to seven years ago, Vetere said.
“With the same family member making buying decisions for both human and pet nutrition it is easy to see why such purchases mirror each other,” he said.
Take the food category. Consumers demand human and pet foods that are natural and organic, vitamin-enhanced, age-specific and designed for specific health ailments.
They’ve also increased awareness about natural/organic foods, and will absorb the added cost by making cuts elsewhere in the family budget.
Indeed, demand for specialty pet food makes sense at a time when the American culture is paying more and more attention to healthy living in general, said Maggie Johnson, owner of Sojourner Farms Natural Pet Food Co., Minneapolis, another local company featured in Bone Marché.
“Folks are realizing that once they ‘try’ a natural pet food, they quickly realize how cost effective and pleasingly beneficial it can be; it’s validating,” Johnson said.
Sojourner markets the “Sojos” brand of dog food and treats made from scratch with no fillers, preservatives, colors or flavors. The Sojos original dog food is a blend of ingredients to which dog owners can add their own meat and veggies to create fresh, homemade pet food.
Bone Marché carries the full line of Sojos dog and cat food, as well as treats and catnip.
To educate the public about the brand, Sojos conducts frequent tastings at Bone Marché. A demo representative has a variety of food, treat samples and literature displayed on the tabletop, along with a couple of bowls with the food mixed up. As customers come in, reps explain the Sojos product line and offer samples for free.
“Customers love to see and smell the food mixed up because it helps them see just how healthy and whole the ingredients are,” Johnson said.
Johnson likes being part of Bone Marché because its staff is knowledgeable about its products. Another benefit is that the store is so close to its operations.
“What makes our partnership with Bone Marché so successful is that we happen to be in their backyard, and the Twin Cities happens to be a place where ‘local’ really does matter to most people,” she said.