display freezers

Taking on Amazon with fresh and frozen premium pet foods

In the world of pet food sales, there’s been an elephant in the room for awhile, and an elephant that’s growing. It’s none other than online retailer Amazon.com, which sold more than $1B worth of pet food in 2018 – up 20 per cent from 2017.  If Amazon’s unrelenting growth seems unstoppable however, think again. Their delivery service might be convenient, but pet food retailers have an edge on the online behemoth: they can provide knowledgeable advice, in-store services like grooming and daycare, and most relevantly, the sale of premium refrigerated and frozen pet foods.

Premium fresh and frozen pet foods is a category that’s on the rise, accounting for about 10 per cent of the total pet food market but growing year over year. This, like ice cream or any other frozen product, is a difficult category for Amazon to handle.  So it’s always puzzling when Minus Forty’s sales team sees rows of solid door fridges and chest freezers in pet food stores. No food retailer would put their premium products behind solid walls but for some reason pet food store managers still do this, hiding away their highest margin products. Solid door units give customers no reason to look behind the door. All the sophisticated packaging, clean labelling and marketing effort that pet food manufacturers put into their premium products goes to waste.

To introduce new products to consumers, there’s no substitute for brightly lit, attractive freezer merchandisers to showcase a wide array of products. And to help impulse sales, nothing beats a merchandiser freezer strategically placed by the point of purchase, where customers can be tempted to try this new category of pet food. There’s no better time to introduce higher margin, gourmet pet food to your customers. Encompassing everything from high-meat, protein-rich raw food to alternative ingredients like brown rice or ancient grains, premium pet food now accounts for more than half of the U.S. market, according to research firm Euromonitor International. Beyond the non-GMO, raw, protein-rich, grain-free foods that are proliferating across the country, the fresh pet food category is expanding even more, with ice creams, goat milk, bone broth, legatos gaining popularity.

All this enrichment in pet diets can have a similar effect on your bottom line but investing in the right merchandisers will be key to this category catching on with customers.   Consumers who put a premium on healthy ingredients want to know the integrity of the food is backed up all the way to their local store. Minus Forty has a wide range of merchandisers, some with the proprietary Smartlock temperature controller, that will alert the store manager when the interior temperature has risen above a safe threshold. In the event this occurs a smart lock will automatically lock the door and prevent any sales until the food can be checked to avoid any spoilage issues.

Beyond the brightly-lit interior and food safety features, another consideration when purchasing display fridges or freezers is maintenance. Standard condensers require a constant supply of air to function and can become clogged and malfunction. This can be an issue for pet food stores that offer grooming services or host animals on a daily basis. In that scenario, Minus Forty merchandisers’ low maintenance condensers will save retailers untold hours in labour and downtime for servicing as they only require an occasional visual inspection to ensure they are free of dirt and fur buildup.

Is it time to get into this lucrative fresh and frozen pet food market? If so, please get in touch and we will be happy to walk you through our outstanding line of merchandisers to help you sell more.  If you’re in Orlando, Florida between March 20th and March 22nd, come and visit the Minus Forty booth at the Global Pet Expo.

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