Within a year of moving in to its purpose built production unit, The Innocent Pet Care Company has received significant European funding which has enabled it to treble its capacity.
Located in North Yorkshire, The Innocent Pet Care Company is best known for its brand of luxury treats for dogs, The Innocent Hound.
What makes this manufacturer different from others is its core values – using British meat which has been responsibly sourced from suppliers, and adhering to welfare and quality assurance schemes.
“People really care about the meat they buy for themselves and it is important that we hold the same values when buying meat for our pets too,” says Chloe Heaton, founder of the company.
“Our meat is carefully selected from farms with Red Tractor accreditation. Our fish is MSC certified and can be traced back to a sustainable fishery, and our Scottish venison is from SQWV certified suppliers.”
Stunned by the rapid success of The Innocent Hound, the team behind The Innocent Pet Care Company found themselves needing to increase capacity to meet demand much sooner than anticipated.
“We have grown very fast in the 12 months since we set up and desperately needed new equipment to expand,” added Chloe (pictured above).
After submitting an application to the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) for a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Capital Grant, a programme supporting SMEs to develop their businesses through the use of biorenewable materials, The Innocent Pet Care Company was awarded a generous grant to support the company in the purchase of additional drying capacity. This is expected to help it achieve a large increase in their turnover this year, develop new products and enter new markets, including opportunities overseas.
“The company uses a bespoke drying process that minimises drying time to produce air-dried treats.” explains Fabien Deswarte, Business Development Unit Manager at the BDC.
“By helping them gain additional drying capacity, the business also hopes to be able to develop further innovative pet treats that fit the company’s ethos and will help them expand and grow.”
Opening the door for own-label treats
With the expansion now compete The Innocent Pet Care Company has been able to open the door to own-label opportunities.
“With so many treats on the market, retailers of all sizes are increasingly looking at creating their own private label products. It is a great way to create customer loyalty and repeated revenue with lower costs and increased profit margins.” explains Chloe.
“Now we have the additional capacity, we are able to produce a range of high quality, air-dried meat treats for other businesses too.”
The company specialises in sausages but they have also developed some exciting new products including ones to help make dogs’ kibble meals more tantalising.
Working with a variety of customers, the business creates unique recipes.
Ken Stirk, Technical Director at The Innocent Pet Care Company, explains; “We have seen an increase in demand for treats with functional benefits and we can include ingredients known to assist with fresh breath, mobility, weight loss and so on.”
As well as the bespoke products, the company offers a range of quality, high meat-content sausages that can be supplied in smaller volumes. These treats are proving to be popular with retailers offering Pick n’ Mix style treat shopping. Flavours include lamb, chicken, fish and mixed game and they can be packed into 100g pouches or delivered loose.
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