As people grow increasingly conscious of what they are consuming, they are also looking out for the well-being of their faithful companions. This has prompted Petco, in a historic move, to announce that they will remove all artificial ingredients from cat and dog food sold in their stores as of May 1. The company operates more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations across the US, Mexico and Puerto Rico
“Last year, we put the entire pet industry on notice by introducing new standards for nutrition, because we firmly believe it’s the right thing to do for pets,” Petco CMO Tariq Hassan said in a statement. “This campaign breathes life into that decision and the journey that lies ahead for Petco. It’s a departure from anything we’ve done before and a direct reflection of our ongoing brand transformation to meet the evolving demands of pet parents.”
Petco, which has frequently taken a lead in the industry when it comes to focusing on animal wellness, is also considering the economic repercussions of its decision. In 2016, natural pet food sales became an $8.2 billion dollar business and the market has only continued to grow each year.
Petco CEO Ron Coughlin first announced the decision in November 2108 in which he said, “We're raising the bar and stepping out ahead of the industry. Not because it's an easy thing to do, but because we believe it's the right thing to do.”
Petco defines artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives as colors, such as dyes, pigments, or other substances, from artificial sources; artificial flavors that are not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products; and artificial preservatives as chemical substances added to or sprayed on food to delay spoilage, deterioration, discoloration, or contamination by bacteria and other disease organisms.
The company’s initiative signals a new self-awareness in the industry since often pet owners rely on the market to tell them what is in the best interest of their four-legged family members. Petco has released a new video entitled “Cleaning House” that explains the change. In the clip, we see several cats knocking pet food marked with artificial ingredients off shelves. They are then joined by a group of dogs who help them “clean house.”
The national campaign will run through the end of the year. It is the brand's first major advertising project with Anomaly, a creative agency that joined the company last year to help implement the pet retailer's new marketing strategy.
As of May 1, Petco will be the only major pet food retailer to eliminate all artificial preservatives, flavoring, and colors from pet food products sold in its stores.