Next time you’re at Kroeger, Publix, Meijer or Target, don’t be surprised if you see Blue Buffalo in the pet food aisle. The company recently joined the stampede of other premium cat supply manufacturers to the mass market.
For me, Blue lost some of its panache when it starting showing up at PetCo and Petsmart. They’ve always felt like the mass market to me. But now, Blue is stepping down another rung to make its entry-level Life Protection Formula available to a whole new group of shoppers at Target and the supermarkets.
There could be a good reason for this. According to the Packaged Facts blog, Blue acknowledges that its pet supply superstore sales have slowed as more and more people shop for cat food online.
Joining The Superpremium Herd
and Newman’s Own cat food
have been available in supermarkets for years. So have The World’s Best Cat Litter
and Swheat Scoop
. But as pet supply superstore sales decline, other high-end products have joined them on the supermarket shelves.
Among them: Purina Beyond, I and Love and You, Rachel Ray Nutrish and Crave.
Just The Crumbs
In a letter to independent retailers, Modestino Mele, Blue’s senior vice president of North American sales, said the move to mass retailers is part of the company’s go-to-market strategy. But it turns out that only the crumbs will be going to the mass market.
Just Blue’s entry-level Life Protection Formula will be available at the supermarkets. Shoppers will find smaller bag sizes, and more mainstream ingredients, wet food and treats. Blue’s other product lines — Wilderness, Basics, Freedom and Earth’s Essentials — will still be available only at pet specialty stores.
It’s What’s In The Cat Food Can That Counts
Wherever you shop, check the ingredients in your cat’s food before you buy. Even the superpremium foods might contain ingredients you don’t want your cat to eat. For instance, some Beyond wet food flavors contain potato starch, and others contain sweet potatoes or wild rice. And for some reason, I and Love and You adds things like cranberries, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes to some of its wet food flavors.
Cats are obligate carnivores and need protein from animal sources. What they don’t need are fruits and veggies.
I’m the first to admit that I’m a cat food snob. I prefer to give my cats wet food that contains just the protein sources named on the can. But if I’m going to feed something that contains a hodgepodge of stuff, we’ll probably stay with Fancy Feast Classics. At least they’re all meat, with no extras added in. And these species-appropriate foods cost a lot less than the superpremium brands. That matters when you’re feeding six cats!