Late last week Petco announced the launch of a WholeHearted Fresh Recipes line offering frozen nutrition for dogs. Petco’s continued investment in artificial-free pet nutrition is in direct response to strong growth in pet parent demand for high-quality, minimally processed pet food.
“Pet parents are driving one of the biggest trends the pet industry has seen as they increasingly seek out fresh, human-grade food for all members of the family,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “Led by Millennial and Gen Z pet parents who are hyper focused on their pets’ health and wellness, we’re seeing the premiumization and pet humanization trends continue to grow. WholeHearted Fresh Recipes will help meet this demand toward high-quality food, while playing a key role in Petco’s leadership in the fresh and frozen space that is expected to grow to $4 billion by 2025.”
Co-developed with JustFoodForDogs, a fresh and frozen pet food pioneer brand and long-standing Petco vendor, the new line of WholeHearted Fresh Recipes is comprised of human-grade ingredients and formulated under veterinary guidance. In accordance with WholeHearted’s Whole Pet Nutrition philosophy — offering an assortment of products to help support pets’ ideal weight, urinary and gut health, joint support, and skin and coat protection — Petco’s new WholeHearted Fresh Recipes line contributes to a dog’s ideal weight and gut health. The meals, which include chicken and vegetables, beef and vegetables, and fish and vegetables, begin at just $6.79.
“With many pet parents already focused on supporting their pets’ whole health by feeding them high-quality nutrition, plus the great success of our private-label pet food brand, WholeHearted, we saw a clear opportunity to invest in helping families bridge the gap between fresh, human-grade pet food recipes crafted under the guidance of veterinarians and an uncompromised, affordable price,” said Petco Chief Merchandising Officer Amy College. “We’re thrilled to help more pet parents give their pets’ bowl a real boost, especially during this time.”
Even in the current macro-economic environment, pet food and treats — including the fresh and frozen nutrition segment — remain a strong staple with no significant signs of pet parents trading down. In fact, customer trends show once families find the nutrition that works for their pets’ needs, they typically become loyal to that brand or product.**
“We’re thrilled to be taking our partnership with Petco to new heights with WholeHearted Fresh Recipes, said Julian Mack, CEO of JustFoodForDogs. “We want every dog to live a healthy, active life, and experience the power of food backed by science — our partnership with Petco plays a key role in this mission.”
Insights show more than 90% of JustFoodForDogs buyers at Petco purchase through Petco pet care centers+, and fresh and frozen pet nutrition customers make more frequent trips to Petco and buy more. With Petco’s infrastructure well-suited to support demand for fresh and frozen pet nutrition, WholeHearted Fresh Recipes will be available in frozen form at most Petco pet care centers in early September — with refrigerated options planned for the future. Pet parents will have access to fast and convenient access to the frozen food through petco.com and the Petco app, including same-day delivery, and buy online, pickup in store. Petco will continue to be the exclusive, national brick-and-mortar retailer to offer JustFoodForDogs.
By leaning into more than 55 years of pet nutrition expertise and partnering with leading veterinarians and pet nutritionists, Petco crafted and introduced WholeHearted recipes that exceed Petco’s nutrition standards in 2016. WholeHearted’s offer of high-quality nutrition at an affordable price quickly became a key differentiator and success driver for the private brand.