pets + products
PHOTO BY IZZZY71
For today’s pet parent, grooming is about more than just making sure pets look their best. Now, consumers are looking for grooming prod- ucts that get the job done and are as healthy as can be for their pets. “I think the category is morphing from just ‘grooming’ into ‘health
and beauty’,” says Doug Gleason, president of TrueBlue Pet Products.
“When you think of grooming, you think of products that help make your
pet look great. What’s happening now is that people are becoming in-
creasingly interested in the ‘health’ side of the equation.”
With people paying more and more attention to the ingredients in the
products they use on themselves, it is no surprise that the same attention
is being paid to the products they buy for their animals. Using natural in-
gredients is a good first step in ensuring pets get only the best.
“A shampoo with natural ingredients is a great starting place,” explains
Gleason. “The next step is to think about the health of the skin and coat.
You want a shampoo that is not going to strip the natural oils out of the skin.”
Of course, it’s not enough for a product to be all natural–it also has to
meet consumers’ high standards for performance. “I think what consumers
are looking for these days are products that are both natural and perform
beautifully,” says Gleason. “Ten years ago, you often had to make a trade-
off; you could seek out natural products, but they often didn’t work quite as
well. Now we want, and expect, it all.”
Ingredients are the key focus in natural grooming products, with the
expectation that everything that goes in the bottle is natural and not syn-
thesized. Consumers are relying on retailers to be educated about the
elements of the products that they stock.
“While many products claim to be natural or all natural, it is somewhat
of a subjective definition,” says James Brandly, marketing coordinator for
TropiClean Pet Products. “‘All natural’ would imply that every ingredient in
the product’s composition is natural. ‘Natural’ could mean that some or
most of the ingredients are natural or derived from natural sources.”
Because the definition of what constitutes natural ingredients may vary
between manufacturers, it is up to retailers to have enough information on
the products they stock to help consumers find the products that meet
their needs and specifications. “Retailers should begin investigating the
ingredients of products, so they can help consumers understand what is
natural,” says Peggy Smith, media manager for Bio-Groom.
Manufacturers are stepping up to the plate, recognizing that this trend
means they need to simplify their ingredients and make their product information more accessible for retailers and consumers alike.
“The category is growing, and manufacturers will be forced to become
more transparent about their products,” says Smith. Consumers value this
transparency, as well as straightforward marketing strategies that ensure
they know exactly what kinds of products they are purchasing.
Many manufacturers have also simplified their packaging to include
clear lists of active ingredients and have made all the information about
their products available on their websites.
“TropiClean recommends that customers seek out products that have
ingredient lists that are easy to read and have meaningful benefits,” says
Brandly. In addition to providing all their product information on their website, TropiClean is also launching a Pet Professional Portal, designed to
give retailers the most accurate information about their products.
“Customers are depending on their pet supplies retailer to understand
how and why manufacturers chose the ingredients to make that particular
grooming product,” says Brandly. “If you’re passionate and knowledgeable
about a brand, you’ll feel more comfortable when customers ask you about
why a certain product is natural.”
There is an increasing overlap between keeping animals looking their
best and keeping them healthy. The products pet parents use to groom
their pets and maintain their hygiene can be as important as what pets eat.
“Retailers can help all their customers understand the importance of
natural grooming products,” says Gleason. “They can help the customer
see that it’s a natural progression from being more mindful of what is in
the pet’s food to being more careful about what goes on their bodies and
is absorbed through the skin.”
In addition to a growing number of natural products that are primarily
aimed at pet appearance, there is more consumer interest in finding natu-
More Than Skin Deep
Natural grooming products are growing in popularity as pet parents
take a closer look at what goes into the products they buy for their
companions. BY JENNA KATZ