Over the past 38 years I’ve had the opportunity to observe and participate in the tremendous growth and transformation of the pet food industry. I started my career working for a global pet food company where I learned to develop and market pet foods. At the time, a handful of multinational companies like Purina, Nestle and Mars dominated the marketplace. Almost all pet foods were sold in grocery stores; they were developed with very simple formulas and made mainly with by-products. I left the large corporation and started a business in the mid-1990s that now ships over ninety million pounds of pet food each year from North America to international markets. Initially, a key driver for the success of the business was price, so our products were economy based.
However, as the pet food market began to evolve, so did our business. As consumers became more concerned about how and what they were feeding their pets, we seized the opportunity to create more specialized products that catered to specific ages and offered unique functional benefits. The products performed well, began to gain widespread acceptance and popularity and became the foundation of our business.
Around seven or eight years ago I started discussing a new dog food concept with nutritionists, industry experts, and my daughter, Katie. The “big idea” was to redefine the highest standard of quality for the entire market.
I believe the way to accomplish this is to start with the ingredients—for every ingredient in every product to be “Human Grade” (which we call “Family Grade”) instead of ‘Feed Grade,’ the current standard throughout the dog food industry. It’s also important for us to make our food using innovative processes in a facility that meets human food regulations. Our hope is that these new standards of quality for both ingredients and processing provide our customers with a new level of confidence when it comes to their dog’s nutrition.
I also believe in the value of freshness—so our foods are baked and delivered immediately to our customers. Again, this was fundamentally different. Our food is consumed within days of when it was made, as opposed to the industry standard where foods purchased at retail can last up to 18 months before they were consumed. This represents a huge benefit as fresh foods are superior in both taste and nutrient value.
The last element is transparency—in regard to the ingredients, processing, and distribution. There is a substantial level of confusion and misinformation about pet foods and the industry in general. One of the main goals of our new concept is to educate consumers and provide them with as much information as possible about what they are feeding their family dogs.
A few years ago we brought the principles described above to life by launching our new venture. It’s been a challenge nearly every step of the way—mainly because nobody has ever done what we are doing now. From sourcing to production to distribution, we’ve essentially created a new way of supplying food to family dogs. We’ve developed and then tested (and retested) a line of products that we are extremely proud to offer our customers. We worked tirelessly to make our products the gold standard for what you feed your family dog—from cleanliness and safety to nutrition and taste. It’s been a long road to get to this point but we believe that it’s been worth the time and effort. We hope that your dogs will enjoy and thrive with our new products.
Greg’s four legged family
(aka Daisy Doggie, Sam’s Wife)
Likes: Hunting game (lizards) in the backyard, ordering around her husband Sam, endlessly chasing tennis balls, being pampered, singing/howling with her Dad
Dislikes: Following commands or requests from her parents, the rain
Best known for: Behaving like a princess, enjoying a good cuddle
(aka Sammy boy, Daisy’s husband)
Likes: Giving kisses to Daisy, any type of snack, hanging out with other dogs, making vertical leaps into the air which are quite impressive for a 10 lb dog
Dislikes: Being away from Daisy
Best known for: Loving Daisy
NewRoad Foods began with our family and a “big idea” to create a truly unique line of dog foods. That led to our first product tests in my home kitchen where I mixed dough by hand and spent hours cutting tiny little kibbles—with the fancy knife set my husband and I had recently received as a wedding gift.
Soon most ingredients in our kitchen were for testing recipes; this was a change welcomed by our three dogs who immediately volunteered to be taste testers. As we made progress, we outgrew our table-top pasta machine and moved on to a professional grade pasta maker. Then we moved our recipe testing from my home kitchen to a proper commercial set-up. I recruited my husband to help me make kibbles on his days off; our (now toddler) son got used to the whir of Hobart mixers and the ding of oven timers before he was even born. While our business is still in its early stages, it has been a huge part of our family’s lives for quite some time.
We strive to make choices we feel good about— in terms of how we treat our employees, partners, and customers. We feel it’s important to hold true to our values—one of which is to keep innovating in all that we do—from how we develop recipes to how we interact with our customers to the role we play within our local community.
Though we are currently small in size and scale, we are committed to supporting local and regional animal welfare causes to the best of our ability. Dogs officially outnumber people in our family and we are at risk of being completely overrun whenever we come across a pup that needs a home.
I believe you can understand a great deal about a person by how they treat animals—dogs in particular. It is both our personal and professional priority to serve dogs in need. Until we grow to the point where we can develop our own welfare organization, we admire and wholeheartedly support worthwhile causes like Best Friends Animal Society.
As we launch our business, I remain focused on our original goals: 1) to always think “big,” yet be thoughtful and responsible in how we run our business, and 2) to help the animals we love whenever and wherever we can.
KATIE’s four legged family
(aka Pig Dog)
Likes: Snacks, eating while laying down, relentlessly nudging anyone for pets
Dislikes: Rigorous movement, anything she absolutely doesn’t feel like doing at the moment
Best known for: Voicing her opinions
(aka Fluffy, Scrappy, Flufferdoo)
Likes: Burrowing under covers, her mom, sometimes her sister Pig
Dislikes: Baths, haircuts, any personal grooming
Best known for: Being fluffy
BEAR (aka Big Bear, Mr. Bear)
Likes: Laying on his back with his feet in the air, his dad, his human brother Lincoln
Dislikes: Being told he’s too big to be on the couch
Best known for: Sitting outside his brother’s room each morning to make sure he’s the first to greet him in his crib