BOSTON — On Sept. 28, Canidae Pet Food pulled back the curtain to reveal how its Kibble Refill Stations were made possible, and announced an expanded rollout of the sustainable pet food dispensers to the Greater Boston area.

The company partnered with Motiv, a creative studio based in South Boston, to develop its eco-friendly Kibble Refill Stations. Canidae and Motiv worked from the ground up to research, design and engineer the dispensers, as well as design the graphics that cover the stations.

“Despite recent pressure being placed on companies to reduce their environmental impact, the pet food category has struggled to adopt meaningful sustainable practices at scale,” said Peter Margetis, chief strategy officer at Canidae. “We came to Motiv with this challenge, and they delivered a smart, user-friendly, sustainable solution that is also convenient to install and utilize for retailers and customers in-store.”

According to the Pet Sustainability Coalition, more than 99% of reinforced single-use bags such as those used for kibble end up in landfills. Canidae’s Kibble Refill Stations are designed to curb the industry’s reliance on single-use plastics, with the hopes of setting an example for other industry players to follow.

Canidae's Kibble Refill Stations have been rolled out in more than 100 Petco stores across the United StatesCanidae first introduced its Kibble Refill Stations in partnership with Pecto in November 2021. (Source: Canidae Pet Food)

“America is home to over 150 million domesticated cats and dogs today, and feeding those animals creates an enormous amount of packaging waste,” said Paul Metaxatos, founding partner at Motiv. “When Canidae came to us asking for a more eco-friendly pet food packaging and delivery approach, we were thrilled with the challenge to create a consumer centric and sustainable solution, the Kibble Refill Station does just that.”

More than 100 Kibble Refill Stations have been installed in Petco stores across the United States so far, and more are being rolled out at several locations in Boston. The stations operate similarly to bulk gravity-feed dispensers used for coffee beans and nuts. Reusable zipper bags at each station have strong handles to make them easier to carry, and can save consumers up to 45% per bag compared to pre-packaged formulas, which equates to hundreds of dollars of savings per year, Canidae estimated.

The two dog food formulas currently available through Canidae’s Kibble Refill Stations — Pure Real Salmon & Sweet Potato and Sustain Premium Recipe with Cage-Free Chicken — are shipped to Petco in fully recyclable bulk bags.

Through its Kibble Refill Stations, Canidae hopes to stop 50,000 pet food bags from ending up in landfills per year. In addition to this goal, it plans to reduce up to 80% of the single-use plastics used to package its pet food portfolio over the next 5 years. This will also help reduce the company’s reliance on the packaging supply chain and the costs and constraints that come with it, allowing Canidae to pass those savings to consumers.

Read more about packaging solutions and trends for pet food and treats.