Sustenhance is here to put the priorities straight.
A new brand of BEC Feed Solutions, Sustenhance is currently entering a trajectory of healthy growth, under the guidance of newly appointed general manager Adam Williams (pictured below).
Williams, who comes from a pharmaceutical background, is accustomed to the challenges of navigating a brand through a competitive industry.
He also has the backing of BEC, a 25-year-old Queensland manufacturer of livestock food, to ensure he hits the ground running on the home front.
Australian pet food production is poised to deliver growth of 3.3 per cent over the course of the 2014 to 2015, more than doubling its annualised growth of 1.4 per cent the five years prior, according to IBISWorld reports.
Sustenhance is tapping into this $1.4 billion market, with the intention of attracting a specific type of customer.
This customer may not yet make up the market majority, but they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their causes.
"We are all about natural pet food solutions at Sustenhance, and admittedly, Australians are pretty slow on the uptake of these products," says Williams.
"When you look at dog food, it's still predominantly just the traditional tin cans, whereas around the world there is an inclination towards fresh dishes and overall a much faster movement away from chemical-based interactions."
Williams says this is to do with the "humanisation of pets" and believes the reason Australians haven't caught on sooner is due to limited availability.
"We are tapping into this market early so we have first mover advantage," he says.
"Research and market development is a really big part of what we do here because it's hard to source externally - it's not like traditional retail sources where they've been around for a long time and you can just tap into the data and see the trend."
Williams says Sustenhance is investing in equine and poultry food as well as dog and cat products, circling around all kinds of 'free' solutions - gluten-free, wheat-free and free of soy by-products.
Sustenhance's current range consists of two equine products and one poultry product, and is soon to be boosted by dog and cat products, which have been at the centre of current 'face of' Sustenhance marketing campaigns calling for photo submissions of pets.
"It's a natural progression that if people are buying natural products for themselves, they will eventually consider them for their pets," he says.
"At the moment, our most passionate customers are in the equine space, but down the track we expect dog and cat products to be our big volume items."
Drawing from his experience in pharmaceuticals, which started in sales and developed into a managerial role, Williams has a firm idea of the divisions young and ambitious retailers should be investing in.
"Sales and distribution will be our hiring areas," he says.
"We need to set ourselves apart by communicating the health, performance and vitality aspect of our products, and the best way to do this is by interacting with our end consumers.
"Our margins and marketing campaigns are secondary to this."
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