The US pet food market was projected to hit $27B in 2018, according to a Packaged Facts report published in December 2017. The report cited that 33.33% of pet owners were claiming to have cut spending on their pets, but that spending on food was still rising steadily at 4.4%. It also claimed that one of the drivers of this positive momentum despite customer cost-cutting was millennials and online sales. It is this audience which Spot & Tango intended to tap, even as the actual market data shows that consumer spending on pet food in 2018 is closer to $33B.
According to the American Pet Product Association, US pet owners are on track to spend $72B on their pets this year, up from $69.5B in 2017. This uptick is being driven by pet owners who are younger. Millennial pet owners are even more likely to spend on their pets than on themselves, and are more focused on food quality. A survey conducted by Wakefield Research indicates that millennials are feel like they know more than store staff, prefer purchasing food online, and scrutinize labels to ensure their pets are eating well. 86% of the surveyed millennials said that an all-natural diet for their pet was important. Spot & Tango, the New York-based all-natural dog food free from preservatives, fillers, and animal byproducts, seems poised to take a big bite out of this growing market.
How Spot & Tango operates
Spot & Tango uses on a just-in-time sourcing model with meals made in their kitchen in Long Island City. The company creates customized food packages for customer’s pets, and supplies frozen packages to owners on a subscription model. All the meals are made from the finest human-grade ingredients that are farm-fresh and locally gathered. Based on information provided by pet owners, the kitchen produces meals in small batches to ensure quality. Meal-sized packets – based on your pet and its definition of a ‘meal’ – are delivered to the door of customers looking for the finest food for their four-legged companions east of the Mississippi River.
These meals are ready-to-serve, and full of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to high quality meat to ensure full nutritional intake for pets. Nothing artificial goes in – all ingredients and flavors are natural, and no artificial preservatives or fillers are used. The food is cooked at lower temperatures to maximize nutrient content and food safety. The company claims to create complete and balanced food for the pets of their customers. The meals are formulated to match the nutritional standards prescribed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)’s Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.
Picture Credit: Spot & Tango’s website
Does human-grade natural food make a difference?
Spot & Tango’s entire business model is predicated on making natural and fresh dog food available to our canine friends. However, it does beg the question – how much of a difference does that make? There is a wide spectrum of dog food available in the market – canned dog food, fresh dog food, human-grade dog food, and even raw meat. How does Spot & Tango distinguish itself in what is a competitive market space?
Spot & Tango’s USP is simple. The company claims that the meals it provides helps our canine companions live longer, and gives them more time with their owner and less time with their vet. This simple and compelling proposition is further elaborated on the company’s website, according to which using Spot & Tango provides a variety of health benefits. In the short term, their meals are designed to improve pet energy and aid their digestion. In the medium and long-term, Spot & Tango states that its meals build immunity, strengthen muscle, relieve allergies, alleviate arthritis, and balance the pH levels of the dog’s digestive system. As any pet owner would tell you, this sounds like a complete package in terms of what outcomes good dog food should be having.
The Spot & Tango Story
The idea behind Spot & Tango came to life in the aftermath of the 2007 dog food recall. Russell Breuer, Founder and CEO, has 14+ years of experience in private equity and consulting as a former Vice President at BerchWood Partners and as a former Manager at Zephyr Management LLP. His dog Jack – the Spot & Tango Dogpreneur-in-chief – had been eating homemade meals based on recipes built after research about canine physiology. After seeing how much Jack loved his new food, Russell decided to find a good way to commercialize this knowledge and decided to build a company around it. While it was initially a weekend side- project, the company’s traction made it his full-time occupation.
Today, the company is seen as a doggo and dog owner favorite in the city for pooch-obsessed professionals and millennials in the Big Apple, and the company’s renewed focus on the subscription model has helped it gain more visibility in the area. Sources indicate that the company is now looking to expand through marketing efforts while beefing up its executive team to add more leadership and experience.
Either way, I’m sure Jack’s tail is wagging at the thought of his next fresh and all-natural Spot & Tango meal.
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