Sunday, August 17, 2008

And just for how much longer is this going to go on?

A week ago we visited one of these big pet stores here in town. Just doing our regular thing, checking out the competition. What they offer, how they price stuff, etc., business as usual trying to stay competitive. I think there is nothing wrong with doing that and am sure that my competitors do the same in our store. Well, entering the place, we where immediately overwhelmed: They just must have gotten truckloads of dry pet food. It was difficult to see all the other items the store has to offer. The only other thing we saw a great deal of was employees. About 10 of them were standing around and chatting, Two were sweeping the floor, they were actually the only ones proving helpful when asked questions. Just wondering, how do so many employees impact the overhead and actual product prices? Those prices are supposed to be so much less than everywhere else. Well, next time you’re in one of those stores, check again and see for yourself. Just another myth.
Coming back to the food: All new commercial dry foods from well known labels. Now they all are natural, healthy and yes, the newest gag: Green. As far as the eye could see, pure health, the pets are going to be so happy. Or are they? A closer look at the labels reveals that actually extremely little has changed. Ingredients are still subject to the widely flexible rules and regulations which allow the largest manufacturers the generous use of quality and cost lowering synthesized chemicals. My point is, why bother guys? Slapping on a new label and a cuter picture just doesn’t cut it. Ok, I admit, there was another change: One of the employees at the food manufacturer’s plant, while eating breakfast was careless and one of his blueberries fell into the big 20 ton raw ingredient washer. So it ended up on the ingredient listing and the food, as the beautiful picture on the bag.shows, its rich in Vitamins and antioxidants. Sorry, almost forgot to mention that.
My point is, iIf you pretend you’re “Green” amd "Healthy" then live it by doing, don’t just say it. Being green is more than using a recycled, biodegradable paper bag, it must include the well being of our companion animals. I can’t help it, I just don’t see any “Green” in a chemical synthesizer. And how long can a manufacturer camouflage his food with a new package every time he’s involved in a recall, which is in one particular case about every 3 months? How long are consumers going to support this? How many recalls, how many suffering animals do we need to witness before things change? But the only player who can change this once and forever is ultimately a consumer refusing to buy product because it’s, excuse me but its true, little more than garbage.
I also noticed that some smaller manufacturers are trying to break into this high volume market. I am talking about the labels, which until now had and still have a great reputation for offering real, actual healthy food with the right ingredients and the right concept behind it. These guys utilizing this distribution arm really worries me. How long is it going to take until these so far great products are going to be watered down and becoming just another no-good premium pet food because of sheer competitive pressures? You know it’s going to happen, the big market players are going to buy tons of product, driving the small manufacturer into a dependency and then dictate how food has to be made and how much they are going to pay. And the number of companies making high quality healthy food decreases more and more, leaving the health conscious pet owner with a very few choices. But that would be simplifying our lives and after all wouldn’t be too bad either.

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