Close X

Home ยป The Scoop

Tyson Pursues A Knockout

Tyson foods, that is. The meatpacking giant is taking a gamble that the economy is going to the dogs, and dog food too. They formed...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Mar 17th 2009


Tyson foods, that is. The meatpacking giant is taking a gamble that the economy is going to the dogs, and dog food too. They formed an alliance with another company to produce deli-like dog food. Interesting, my dogs are behind me salivating as they read this.

Tyson, Springdale, Ark., is expected to announce Tuesday that it bought a minority stake for millions of dollars in closely held Freshpet Co., a Secaucus, N.J., company that is rolling out refrigerated dog food to thousands of stores such as Kroger, Supervalu and PetSmart.

The Freshpet brand is unusual because the company’s executives, a collection of former Meow Mix managers, are trying to make dog food look, smell and taste as much like human food as possible. The line, the first national brand of refrigerated pet food, is aimed at consumers who give their pets everything from clothes and car seats to cemetery graves.

“Everyone talks about the humanization of pets,” said Scott Morris, Freshpet marketing vice president. “But pet food looks the same as it did 30 years ago.”

Although Tyson has taken some criticism for pursuing this during a recession, they’re betting that dog lovers won’t cut corners when it comes to pet food.

Paul Bulcke, chief executive of Swiss foods giant Nestl SA, which owns several pet-food brands, said earlier this month that consumers who have “humanized” their pets refuse to trade down despite the economic climate.

What do you think, is Tyson setting themselves up for a KO, or to be KO’d ? Give me a bark.

* “Why yes, that does look deli fresh,” said Oreo.