Petco Appeals to 'Pet Parents' With All-Natural Pet Food Initiatives

November 13, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Petco will phase out dog and cat food containing artificial ingredients and preservatives entirely by May 2019, the company announced Tuesday.

Petco CEO Ron Coughlin told Cheddar Tuesday that the decision to move to a wholly natural-ingredient line was part of a corporate strategy to become a full-service "partner to pet parents." It also reflects broader consumer trends toward healthier, organic foods ー that now includes the diets of their pets.

"All the trends that happened in farm-to-table are happening in pet food," Coughlin said. Some Petco stores will even start piloting "human-grade" food cooked in-store ー made-to-order meals for dogs.

Coughlin admitted that revenues at the privately-owned Petco could get dinged in the short run as it terminates relationships with suppliers who won't follow it to the "nutrition high ground." It's also facing headwinds from tariffs that are forcing the company to rethink aspects of its supply chain, he said.

For all the health consciousness, the move to go all-natural is very much a way for Petco to Amazon-proof ($AMZN) its business model. Coughlin said some stores will soon have on-site veterinarians, along with its roster of groomers, to create what Coughlin called "360 degree care for pets" and a one-stop shop for pet owners.

"We want to make sure we're doing the right thing for pets," he said.

For full interview click here.