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Certified Organic by NH Dept. of Agr., Mkts. & Food, Organic Dog Treats

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Tag Archives: certified organic dog biscuit company

  • Dog Foods are only as good as their ingredients AND production standards

    In light of all the recent dog food recall alerts released by Diamond Pet Foods, dog owners must be wondering how a company that touts their use of premium ingredients and the highest quality standards ended up in this position. While assessing the Diamond recall situation, it is important for us to take a step back and look at the whole picture of pet food manufacturing.

    Back when the natural and organic pet food paradigm shift occurred in 2007/2008 in the pet industry, the focus - from consumers and manufacturers alike - was 100% on the quality of the ingredients used. But that is only half of the equation when it comes the commercial pet food industry. The other part of the equation is the production processes in place to create pet foods.

    A company can use the best all natural or certified organic ingredients available, but if their production process is still below par, then quite honestly, the quality of ingredients doesn't matter so much. The point is that an organic ingredient and a conventional ingredient are both equally susceptible to contamination if processed by the same production method.

    This conversation applies mostly to the big pet food companies that are extensions of the dominating food conglomerates. As John Sibley points out in this recent blog post, there is a whole underworld of pet food production that is not revealed to the average consumer. It involves contract manufacturers whose interests lie primarily in profits as opposed to quality. Basically for you, the consumer, this means what you see isn't always what you get.

    Transparency in the pet food industry, and food industry, in general has been discussed at length as consumers demand more information about the foods they feed their pets. Our production process for our organic dog treats is vastly different and definitely on a smaller scale than large pet food companies, but that doesn't mean we take safety any less seriously.

    We have spoken a lot about the high quality of the certified organic ingredients that go into our dog treats, but how are we any different than the big box companies if we fail to talk to our consumers about our production process? These things are true about how we create The Organic Hound Co. dog treats:

    – We bake in small batches, which means about 400-500 treats per batch. That is typically enough to fill one case of our treats.
    – Our shelf life, under normal storage conditions, is absolutely accurate. We conducted many tests to ensure that our treats will stay fresh for at least a year.
    – Every ingredient we use and box of treats we package is carefully monitored through our lot number tracking system.
    – The processing and packaging of our treats is done by hand, not machine. This means we inspect every single treat that get packaged and put on the shelf.

    How is that for quality control?

  • Tastes like Chicken...exploring the world of "human grade" label claims

    Since pet industry professionals have all but exhausted the natural vs. organic vs. conventional discussion, it is time to mercilessly deconstruct another buzzword in the growing pet food segment: Human grade. What does it really mean for a pet food to be human grade? Is it really okay for humans to eat pet food!? These questions apparently were too tempting for one news reporter to ignore. BloombergBusinessweek contributor, Teddy Wayne decided to investigate gourmet pet foods with human grade label claims by tasting them, of course. I heard about this story via PetfoodIndustry.com, which always provides great (pet) food for thought.

    Let's get one thing clear. Like many terms used on pet food packaging, "human grade" has no real legal definition in the pet food industry. Comforting, isn't it? Not so much. Unfortunately, this lack of label oversight once again creates a lot of room for companies to make less than true claims about their ingredients and production processes. What do you think of when you read the term human grade? To me it is simple. It means using food that you could and would be able to find in the common pantry. Things like flour, real meat, honey, peas, carrots, etc. Whole ingredients with real nutritional benefits - that is human grade. No elusive "natural flavoring" or animal by-products. It also means using production methods and adhering to cleanliness standards that would be acceptable for making food for human consumption.

    In the world of pet food labeling, companies use the claim "human grade" to inform the consumer about the safety of the product in question. After all, if it is good enough for humans, how can it be harmful for pets? That is the idea behind the marketing, anyway. But just because some healthy pet foods are made with human grade ingredients does not mean that humans should be eating them! Teddy Wayne seemed to miss the mark on that concept, unless his entire article was meant to be facetious. It's difficult to say. Pairing gourmet pet foods with fine wines was a great use of hyperbole, but serves no real purpose in the context of assessing the value of different gourmet pet foods.

    Who knows what Teddy Wayne's intentions were with his article in BloombergBusinessweek. Whether his article is sincere or not doesn't matter so much in the grand scheme of things. What does matter for you, the pet owner, is the fact that looking more closely at human grade label claims is becoming increasingly important. We encourage you to do your research, contact the company, ask questions and demand answers.

    At The Organic Hound Co., we are proud to offer USDA certified organic dog treats. By making the effort to have our treats recognized by the USDA as certified organic, we don't have to spend any time defending our label claims. In fact, I would consider our organic certification the best marketing investment we have made so far!

  • Hot, Fresh Dog Treats!

    It's almost difficult to picture a company's website, flyer, brochure, or even TV commercial without some reference to or mention of Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. These things have become staples of marketing and advertising, and you have to ask what did companies do before social media mayhem hit the mainstream? Well, for one company - Krispy Kreme - it was simple: Make a good product and rely on your loyal customers to spread the word to their friends. Did you know that Krispy Kreme built up its iconic brand almost entirely on word-of-mouth marketing?

    Perhaps the red neon "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign in the window of Krispy Kreme shops could be considered the first instance of viral marketing. I know I am not alone when I say I have made illegal U-turns all in the name of hot glazed doughnuts! While social media has taken the idea of word-of-mouth marketing and set it ablaze, I like the thought of companies basing their success on quality products, customer service and memorable experiences. Krispy Kreme has done just that. And while Dunkin Donuts might dominate the airwaves and the billboards, I argue that it is hard to compete with a hot glazed doughnut fresh from the oven.

    Hot glazed doughnuts have nothing to do with dog treats, but Krispy Kreme's commitment to its mission has everything to do with running a good business, which is what we strive for with The Organic Hound Co. Being a small business means accomplishing a lot with very few resources. It is inspiring to read about a company like Krispy Kreme that grew mainly because people like them, their product, their atmosphere, and their brand. Certainly, a company that built a reputation on word-of-mouth has only benefited from social media, but on some level their social media presence is merely an extension of the marketing tool they helped to establish.

    We depend a lot on word-of-mouth marketing (now if only the dogs could talk!), and while we may never reach the cult status of a company like Krispy Kreme, we are definitely grateful for the support we get from our customers. They may not realize how much they are helping our business when they recommend our organic dog treats to a friend, but I assure you that we recognize it, and appreciate it. We'll keep making healthy, high quality dog biscuits as long as people keeping spreading the word!

  • The secret ingredient in any good organic dog treat: Honesty

    In the latest issue of Pet food Industry magazine, there is a really good article about the conflicting interests that exist between the regulatory and marketing departments in major pet food companies. The former is responsible for making sure pet foods contain safe ingredients for pets. The latter, on the other hand, has one goal in mind. That is to make consumers believe that their company's pet foods contain ingredients that your pets simply can't live without.

     

    Major companies that make products for both humans and dogs are constantly thinking up new and innovative ways to draw in consumers and keep them coming back. And with increasing competition, this is becoming a much more challenging task. A plight of pet food companies ,in particular, is making sure that the marketing claims on their labels actually measure up in their pet food formulas. This is also true for companies producing consumables for humans, but the key difference is that the FDA has been watching manufacturers of human products much longer than they have been keeping an eye on the pet companies.

     

    The article in Pet Food Industry magazine looks at the tug of war that can occur between the regulatory arm and the marketing arm. The author jokingly alludes to the fact that the members of the marketing department of a major pet food company refer to the regulatory division as the "Department of Sales Prevention." This is because the common marketing practice of embellishing the truth through fancy language manipulation doesn't mesh so well with the duties of regulatory personnel.

     

    It was interesting to read how these two vastly different departments must meet in the middle whenever a new pet food product is being developed. The author of the article mentions that in one company the head of the regulatory division and the of the marketing department were the same person. He suggests this might make it nearly impossible for that person to make objective decisions about the ingredients being used and the subsequent claims and benefits of those ingredients, as presented on the label.

     

    But, in the case of smaller pet food and treat manufacturers, the person making the formulas is the same person producing the marketing materials. Because of the shoestring budgets on which small companies operate, this is unavoidable. Sharing these responsibilities, however, does not have to result in conflicted messaging or a misleading brand, as long as your are being honest.

     

    When we were developing the flavor profiles for our organic dog treats, there wasn't a single thing that we let get in the way of producing a healthy, great tasting dog treat. We devoted almost a year to research and development before finalizing our treats. There wasn't a big marketing budget, so our treats needed to speak for themselves.

     

    What it all really comes down to in the world of the competitive dog treat industry is being honest. If you are honest about using high quality ingredients that are good for dogs, then you don't need to depend so much on lofty marketing claims to sell your product. You can tell the truth, have confidence in your message, and pet owners will listen.

  • Organic Dog Treats and the Mission of The Organic Hound Co.

    In Jerry Maguire, one of my favorite movies from Cameron Crowe (one of my favorite sceenwriters!), the title character sits down to write a mission statement entitled, "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business," after becoming irrevocably jaded by the deceit and greed he witnesses on a daily basis in the sports management industry.

    The movie depicts Jerry Maguire pouring his heart and soul into this potentially industry-shattering mission statement. And in a moment of temporary insanity, Maguire proudly takes his lengthy mission statement to the nearest all night copy center and makes several neatly bound copies to distribute to all of his colleagues (and superiors) at Sports Management International.

    The mission statement was supposed to be a catalyst for change in the sports management industry by motivating agents to focus on people and values instead of tv spots and signing bonuses. Instead, it cost Maguire his job, his reputation, and all but one of his clients.

    So why is this popular movie plot from the nineties pervading my thoughts right now? Well, I am about to sit down and revisit The Organic Hound Co. business plan, which we began working on months prior to even launching our company. Let me tell you something - attempting to write a business plan before you are actually in business is quite challenging. I mean, how are you supposed to formulate an accurate plan for your business before you even start? On the other hand, how can you start a business without some idea of what direction you want your company to take.

    Despite all the positivity and enthusiasm behind these idealistic words on a page, business plans seemingly don't account to much more than a static document full of big ideas that never come to fruition and financial projections that don't seem to add up. Am I being too hard on the business plan? Perhaps I am. But I have defintitely developed somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the business plan. I love the idea of it, but hate its application in the real world.

    Much like Jerry Maguire, I want to create a business plan that is more than just words on a page. I want our mission statement to be so compelling, people stand up and cheer. Our vision statement should inspire change. And our financial outlook should make even the most aggressive businessmen blush! But like Jerry Maguire, will my naive idealism similarly lead to my demise? I guess we shall see.

    Writing a business plan didn't seem to matter as much before as it does now. So, do I write from my heart and fill the pages with lofty ideas of changing the world one organic dog treat at a time, or do I write what I think "they" want to hear? I thought I moved away from existential dilemmas after completing modern English Lit courses in college. Boy was I wrong!

  • Swanzey firm offers dogs organic biscuits

    Keene Sentinel - Published: Saturday, March 19, 2011

    SWANZEY — There’s a new homemade dog biscuit on the block.

    The Organic Hound launched Feb. 14, according to co-owner Michelle Clark.

    The company offers three varieties of dog treats, formulated with nutritional properties intended to help heal a variety of doggy ailments, according to a news release. The biscuits are available online and through local retailers, and the company has applied for USDA organic certification.

    The company’s three owners keep a total of 13 dogs, Clark said.

    “They like all the varieties, but I think they lean toward the Beef Heart,” she said.

    The company is producing more than 5,000 hand-cut dog biscuits each week, according to Clark.

  • Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

    We’re getting ready to send off our organic system plan to the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture.  In case you don't know, the organic system plan is a 9 page in-depth questionnaire with countless supporting documents that acts as the official application to become a USDA certified organic operation.  This is both exciting and a little intimidating!  In order to complete the organic system plan, we had to thoroughly examine every single aspect of our process to make sure it is compliant with the National Organic Program.   We put a lot of thought and effort into making sure our bakery meets the rigorous set of standards enforced by the USDA.

    So why are we taking all these extra measures to become a certified organic dog biscuit company? It’s simple really…we’re doing it for you and your dog.  When you see the USDA organic logo displayed on our packaging, you will instantly know that every ingredient in that box is 100% certified organic…no doubt about it.  You will also know that these ingredients contain nothing artificial whatsoever, which is a really good thing for your dog.

    Wouldn’t it be easier to label and market our treats as natural and organic without going through the trouble of becoming certified? You bet it would, but that is not what we are about at The Organic Hound Co.  When we started this company, we did so with the clear objective to support our local certified organic farmers and to join them by becoming certified organic as well.  See, we didn’t want the accountability to end with the farmers.  We wanted to challenge ourselves to meet higher standards in a industry where standards are sometimes an afterthought.

    What we discovered along the way is that this model is pretty unique.  There are a lot of companies using local ingredients (some organic and some not) and there are some companies that are certified organic, but very few can say they are both.  This is the space The Organic Hound Co. occupies in the vast pet treat industry –a certified organic dog treat company supporting their local certified organic farmers.

    Well, I can’t officially say we are certified organic yet.  We have to pass the inspection first! But the law of attraction says to “act as if,” right?

  • The Organic Hound Co. Launches New Website Featuring Organic Dog Biscuits

    SWANZEY, NH, February 22, 2011  -- Ten months ago, the owners of The Organic Hound Co. found out there just might be a silver lining to becoming unemployed. After losing their jobs in April 2010, Jess Hendelman, Michelle Clark, and Deb Harmon began forming the idea for The Organic Hound Co., an organic dog biscuit company based out of their New Hampshire home. Now, ten months later, they are excited to introduce their organic dog biscuits and brand new website to the dog loving public.

    For these three women, starting an organic dog biscuit company out of their home after losing their jobs was anything but cliche. Instead, it turned into the opportunity of a lifetime. The dog-centric company, which specializes in dog biscuits made with local, certified organic ingredients, is a welcome addition to the New England natural and organic pet treat industry. The company's introductory product line will include three original organic biscuit flavors:

    Organic Pumpkin Ginger - for dogs with sensitive systems
    Organic Beef Heart (Grain Free) - targets cardiovascular and joint health
    Organic Peanut Butter Flax - for dogs with dull coats or itchy, flaky skin

    While each biscuit formula has a distinctive set of nutritional properties, the organic beef heart biscuits truly set The Organic Hound Co. apart. These hearty biscuits are sure to catch the attention of dog owners searching for a non-greasy meat based treat. Also, by offering both meat-based and vegetarian treat options, The Organic Hound Co. appeals to a variety of dog owners.

    The Organic Hound Co.'s unique biscuit flavor options are only part of what makes them stand out in the growing natural and organic pet product market. The company is currently in the process of applying for USDA organic certification. When The Organic Hound Co. earns their organic certification, it will make them the only dog treat company in New Hampshire carrying the USDA organic seal. This is a distinguishing feature that will elevate The Organic Hound Co. above the competition, proving that their biscuits are more than your average home baked dog biscuit.

    Co-Owner Jess Hendelman says, "We are just so excited to finally have our biscuits out there. With so many recent issues involving pet food and treat recalls, we want people to recognize our organic dog biscuits as a healthy, honest, and high quality snack option for their dog."

    Dog owners looking for optimal health benefits in dog treats will be drawn to The Organic Hound Co.'s commitment to exceeding the industry standards of nutrition. The Organic Hound Co. dog biscuits are currently available for purchase through their website and a few local retailers.

    The Organic Hound Co. is an organic dog biscuit company with a focus on sustainability. For more information, please contact us at info@theorganichound.com.

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