10 Questions with Kevin Dover, sales and marketing manager, Albion Meat Products Ltd
What are the benefits of raw feeding for pets?
The main benefit of feeding a raw diet is simple – no additives, no fillers, preservatives, and no added colourants. Over the many years of supplying Albion products, we have found that this gives our customers’ pets the best diet and as close to a ‘natural’ diet they would find in the wild. By using only the best, human-grade meat, fruit, and vegetables along with stringent testing we have customers who have been with us for 30 years, as they know they can trust our products to give their pets the right balance required to live a healthy life.
What levels of growth are we seeing in the category?
We are consistently receiving new enquiries from stores who are either just opening or already have a base of frozen foods looking for a new supplier who they can trust to deliver. As we also adopt an exclusion zone around existing customers, we sometimes must decline new enquiries so as not to cause any price war issues, but we are always happy to investigate all enquiries received.
How easy is it for retailers to integrate fresh/raw food into their existing offer?
It is extremely easy to integrate our product ranges into any store – we are on hand to guide customers through the various ranges and advise accordingly. We also offer various “freezer deals” along with items of POS to help stores to promote the Albion brand in the best way to their customers and to give them the confidence to sell the Albion ranges based on quality and value for money.
What are the first steps for people who are new to the category?
For anyone starting out with a view to stocking raw foods, we always personally take them through the different ranges to ensure they have a good understanding of what the potential market could ask for. With the owners being in the industry for 40 years, and staff who have been involved within the show world for as long, we obviously have the background on what is required to keep customers’ dogs in tip-top condition.
What are the key things for retailers to know?
When it comes to ‘top tips’ for retailers, the most obvious one is they need to advise new owners on how to transition from the existing products over to a ‘raw diet’, which should be simple if followed correctly. We also offer telephone advice as well as having support available online, including various articles from our own experience and an ex-veterinary nurse with over 30 years’ experience. Customers can use our feeding calculator to work out how much food will be required each day, which obviously helps when calculating feeding costs, which is very much to the fore at present with the current economic situation.
What are the origins of the brand?
The Albion product was initiated by the current owner’s father, who happened to be a butcher by trade. Since that time, nearly 40 years ago, the product range has been increased to give customers both new and old what they require, be it just a plain premium meat for those that like DIY or, for those that want a premium product ready to serve, we offer various ‘completes’ which also include two puppy products that can be used right from weaning.
What are the key characteristics of your brand?
The main characteristics of the ranges are principally the quality of the meats we use, which our customers value more than anything, and our ability to deliver a product on time and in the absolute best condition. In recent months we have received many enquiries from stockists of other brands asking if we are able to supply them as they were unable to get stock from one or two sources due to raw material shortages.
How many stores are current stockists … and is there room for any more?
Our stockist list is still growing. As previously mentioned, we do try to ensure our customers have a decent area to work within and will not set up accounts which are too close to an existing one. All enquiries are looked at and given consideration. Most of our stockists are called each week by a member of staff to ensure they are kept topped-up the day before their deliveries are due, to ensure they have not forgotten to order.
What advice do you give about retail pricing and in-store display?
We give all stores a Trade list, which gives a suggested retail price, but this is not set in stone and allows stockists to decide on the margins. We offer assorted items of POS material, which is given to all new stockists when they place their first order. Existing stores are always welcome to ask for items such as brochures, posters etc. when ordering stock as these will be delivered by our vans on the scheduled weekly runs.
What future developments can we expect to see from the brand?
We are always looking at our ranges and take on board what customers ask for, but do not tend to run with fancy trends. The Albion ranges are tried and assessed to give customers the absolute best nutrition for their pets who are very much a part of a family – the Albion family!