As the market for minimally processed and fresh pet food options continues to grow incrementally, the growth of this pet food company has been anything but incremental. Freshpet is rethinking pet nutrition with its “fresh from the fridge” philosophy.
The company has maintained double-digit net sales growth year-over-year since it went public on NASDAQ in 2014. In its most recent financial statement, for the three months ended June 30, 2019, Freshpet reported $60.1 million in net sales. Additionally, the fresh pet food manufacturer grew its earnings by more than 39% between the first quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019.
“It’s really simple: use fresh, whole ingredients, gently cooked without preservatives, and kept in the fridge where meats belong,” said John Speranza, vice president of marketing at Freshpet.
Freshpet produces seven brands of pet food, all of which are formulated with US-raised meats and whole fruits and vegetables that are gently steam-cooked to maximize nutrient availability. To keep things fresh, meat ingredients are delivered to Freshpet’s kitchen daily, according to John Speranza, vice president of marketing for the company.
Freshpet’s nutritional philosophy is centered around using the best, all-natural, local, preservative-free and whole ingredients available, all of which are sourced within 200 miles of its production facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Cooking those ingredients with steam at low-temperatures means nutrients and micronutrients have not been lost through processing and can be easily absorbed by the pet. The company does not add preservatives, and although the pet foods must be kept at a certain temperature and have a shorter shelf life than dry kibble diets, the company believes that the nutritional benefits are worth these limitations.
This fresh pet food company has a unique retail model. Because minimally processed pet foods need to be refrigerated or frozen in order to prevent the bacterial growth and cross-contamination, Freshpet installs a branded refrigerator into each store in which its brands are sold. This creates valuable, guaranteed real estate in brick-and-mortar retail stores, and ensures the product remains safe after it is distributed to those locations. The company is in the process of upgrading those fridges, as well as adding second fridges to existing retail locations to expand shelf capacity. As of May 2019, the company’s in-store fridge count was just over 20,000.
Freshpet has invested heavily in growing its brand awareness, household penetration and buying rate over the years. The company invested 11% of its annual revenue in into advertising campaigns in 2019, for example.
In June 2019, Freshpet held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its second production center in Bethlehem, which is expected to be fully operational by 2020. The 90,000-sq.-ft. kitchen will increase the company’s capacity as it continues to “feed the growth.” The company also announced plans for its third and largest fresh pet food manufacturing campus in Ennis, Texas, of which the first phase is scheduled for completion in fall of 2022. These two facilities are expected to help Freshpet with it's goal for its product to be in 8 million American homes by the end of 2025.
Read other pet food and treat company profiles featured in our 2019 Resource Guide.