[tweetmeme]If you love pets and want to start a business, one business that you may want to consider is the gourmet pet foods business.
Pet owners strive to provide the appropriate food to their beloved pets on a daily basis. As such, the pet food business has proven to be resilient even in the face of recession, as pet-related food spending continued to rise. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spent about $18.28 billion for food in 2010 for their pets.
In the pet food business, the fastest growing segment is the gourmet food business. Gourmet pet food includes pet treats, gourmet dry and canned foods. Many pet owners give their dogs and cats’ special treats from time to time whether to celebrate special occasions, or simply to spoil them.
The gourmet pet food business also caters to pet owners who do not want to feed their beloved pets with commercial grade pet foods, which are often filled with low-quality protein sources, chemical preservatives, artificial flavors/colors, cheap fats and grains, and various fillers.
Given the growing demand, a number of businesses offering gourmet pet food treats have opened up online and in local pet bakeries. These gourmet pet foods and treats include pet ice cream, cookies, biscuits, cupcakes, pastries, among many others. Some of the gourmet pet food businesses even offer customization and personalization for birthdays and other occasions. There are also a number offering organic and all-natural dog treats, which is buoyed by the increasing trend towards healthy living.
ChefK9.com http://www.chefk9.com/gourmet-dog-food.html offers a number of gourmet dog food products, such as Chihuahua Dog Food which consists of “Hormone Free Oven-Baked Chicken with Whole Grain Brown Rice, Steamed Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Pan Wilted Spinach, Fresh Pinto Beans, Bran Flakes, Cottage Cheese *, Fresh Grated Cheddar Cheese, Avocado, Garlic and Kelp Powder.”
WoofPetBakery.com offers a number of baked goods for pets, including cakes such as Apple Crunch & Munch Cake and Bacon & Chicken Layer Cake and sweet pastries such as Cinnamon Molasses Hearts.
Some offering organic gourmet pet food products highlight that their treats offers human-grade ingredients and do not use preservatives or by-products. PartyAnimalPetFood.com even states that none of their canned pet food products contain Wheat or Rice Protein Concentrate, which figured in two large major recalls of commercial pet food products.
Another thriving gourmet pet food business is Polar Pups http://www.polar-pups.com, which offers all natural frozen treat for dogs. Originally called Chilly Dawgs http://www.powerhomebiz.com/OnlineSuccess/chillydawg.htm, owner Becky Marshall wanted to share with her dog her love for ice cream, but did not want to feed her anything that contained dairy products, preservatives, chemicals, or animal fats. Her all-natural recipes are now available in pet and health food stores mostly in the Illinois, Wisconsin and other states.
Jennifer Landheer, owner of Bone Appetit Pet Boutique and Bakery http://www.myboneappetit.com in Champaign, IL, even offers catering for various doggie events such as birthdays or summer cookouts.
In addition to the continued strong demand in the market, one benefit of going to the gourmet pet food business is its high margins. Pet owners want to give their dogs the best and healthiest food that they can get, and gourmet pet foods typically are priced higher than their commercial-grade counterparts.
To start a gourmet food business, you need to be adept in food preparation, baking and cooking. Think of a niche you’d like to focus on for your business that will set you apart from your competitors. Do you want to offer dry pet foods or do you want cookies and treats? What will make your business distinctive.
The gourmet pet food is a business that you can do from your home. You can then sell your products directly to consumers by starting your online store or in your own bakery or pet store. You can also opt to offer your products wholesale to independent and chain pet retailers.
The key is to create products that pets really love. Once you get the pets hook on the taste, then it will be easy to turn their owners into your loyal and frequent customers.