Over the past few years, we have used this space to provide information on new small food businesses, local farming, and food trends - basically all things food. We have unfortunately left out details on feeding some critical family members – our dogs.
In the past decade or two, dog food has made headlines when we learn about problems with the food coming from China and how it has sickened our furry friends. Many companies have seen this as an opportunity to change the industry. The shelves in pet stores look very different today than in the past. The options seem endless. The variety of kibble is confusing to the consumer. Organic options, grain-free options, and raw food take up more shelf space. The bags boast limited wholesome ingredients like blueberries, sweet potato, bison, or salmon.
Lisa Shade believes there is still a void in the market, and her family is setting out to change that. Before the pandemic, Lisa, her father, David, and her sister-in-law, Heidi, decided to start a family business. Since they are all dog people, the idea of helping people feed their dogs was something they all agreed was a solid business venture. They launched Shade Family Ventures Ltd and created the Bredwell dog food brand.
Lisa describes Bredwell as a "Chipolte for dogs." They start with the Bredwell Bit, a proprietary kibble recipe that contains protein. The bit which comes in puppy, healthy weight adult, and senior varieties is only part of the meal. It is then topped with additional protein and a garnish. The garnish could be veggies like peas and carrots or fruit. This is all portioned out for each meal in a vacuum-sealed bag.
The portioning is unique based on each dog's needs. A customer will be asked to complete a "quiz" with questions about the dog's breed, age, activity level, known allergies, and health problems to provide the best blend for their needs. These are the same questions your veterinarian asks on a first visit.
Lisa has fed her dogs this way for a long time, but she got professional help from Rich Rothamel and Dr. Larry Hawley, pet food scientists.
Education will be part of the sales process. For example, they will not provide a grain-free option. Like humans have FDA recommendations for what we should eat, there is something similar for dogs. It's important to remember that what is good for humans isn't necessarily suitable for dogs.
The Shade family is getting ready for customers online and with a brick-and-mortar store, both currently under construction. The dog-friendly store will be in downtown Barrington. The store will have a kitchen in the back to prepare the protein and garnishes. Dogs will be weighed, and food will be recommended based on the information provided in the quiz. You can leave the store with a supply of meals portioned specifically for your dog. You'll also be able to find unique items for your dog to play with while you're at the store.
The e-commerce site will provide the same "quiz" about the dog, and the meals will then be shipped to your home.
The Shade family is currently using the Cookery to finalize the product. Once they are ready to begin selling, they will market Bredwell at farmer's markets and dog parks, where they can give out samples to obliging always-hungry dogs.
The target market for Bredwell pet food is not a specific demographic. Instead, it's those of us who treat our pets as members of the family and are willing to provide good nutrition and healthcare.
After dog food, Bredwell might consider taking on the cat food industry.