It was a match made in heaven. A TV vet, loved by the public for seven years of loyal service on Vets in Practice, and a marketing guru, with 15 years’ experience in the food industry. Together, they have launched Pet’s Kitchen, a range of all natural pet food for cats and dogs.
Joe Inglis and Mark Crawford set up the company in December 2005. The recipes are created by Inglis, using his top veterinary know-how, while Crawford masterminds the operational side of the business as MD.
Unlike most brands on the market, Joe & Jack’s (dog food) and Joe & Jill’s (cat) have no additives or preservatives. The holistic choice if you will. “We’re the Gü, Green & Blacks and Ben & Jerry’s of the pet food industry,” says Crawford. There are currently 14 products in the range, but there are another six products in the pipeline.
Inglis’ celebrity status has proved invaluable to the young business. “When we went to meet Waitrose, the buyer went to get us some drinks,” recalls Crawford. “We heard someone say, “Isn’t that Joe off the telly?’ The meeting went really well after that.”
Having a TV star on board will also be useful when Pet’s Kitchen enters the European market. “Vets In Practice has shown in 26 countries around the world,” explains Crawford. “The series only finished showing last year, so Joe’s celeb status is still very current and widespread.”
There has been a spanner in the works, however. The competition has cottoned on to the demand for Joe & Jack’s and Joe & Jill’s (it’s hard to miss the bright packaging in the aisles of Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Budgens) and are bringing out rival products. Undaunted, Crawford says, “Procter & Gamble, Mars and Nestle all launched natural versions of their main brands at the start of March. But if you look more closely at the products, they’re not quite what the consumer would expect from the packaging. Some contain preservatives, despite being labelled ‘natural’.”
In contrast, Pet’s Kitchen aims to be: Real natural pet food from someone you can trust. “We don’t hide behind dubious ingredients,” says the MD.
Another reason for Crawford’s sang froid? Second year revenues have hit £750,000, with a predicted 2009 turnover of £3.5m.
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