Petco CEO Ron Coughlin said in a Bloomberg interview the decision to eliminate pet food products containing artificial ingredients will set the retailer apart in a pet food market trending increasingly toward natural and transparent products.

“It is a bet but, for us, doing the right thing for pets has always been the right thing for Petco,” Coughlin said. “If you talk to customers, 87% of them say they don’t want artificials in their products, so many of them don’t even know they’re buying dog and cat food that has artificials. So, us going out there and saying we’re going to eliminate those products actually makes good business sense to us.”

Coughlin categorized pet food products in question under three classes: brands without artificial ingredients that will stay on the shelves, brands with plans to reformulate or launch new products to meet Petco’s new standards, and brands that are not responding to the new standards and will be removed from shelves and donated to animal shelters. He went on to describe the reformulation of pet food by some brands to be more natural as “a really positive outcome” of the retailer’s recent decision.

Coughlin reassured Petco’s price points will not drastically change as a result of this switch, citing entry- and mid-level prices among many natural pet food brands sold by the retailer, including its house brand.

“I don’t want this to be thought of as a cost play,” Coughlin said. “At the end of the day, do our pets need glycerol, do they need sulfur dioxide, do they need FD&C Yellow #5? We don’t think so, and we’re not going to make people pay more for those products.”

See a comprehensive list of artificial ingredients banned by Petco in our previous article.

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