Kiwi pets, owners prefer local taste over global firms

Photo Thinkstock
Photo Thinkstock

A small, New Zealand-owned pet-food company has shown the international big boys who's boss in the latest ratings by consumer satisfaction researchers Canstar Blue. Bombay Petfoods, which produces fresh meat pet-food under the Jimbo's brand, scored the highest rating in a recent customer satisfaction survey.

Jimbo's was awarded the Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award - Pet Food after scoring five-star ratings in nearly every category. A sample of 1474 New Zealanders who had purchased pet food in the past three months were asked to rate products in terms of value for money, variety and range, their pet's enjoyment of the product, and packaging. Jimbo's was the only one of 14 brands to score five stars for overall satisfaction, as well as for pet enjoyment.

Canstar New Zealand general manager Jose George says the survey showed this last factor was the number-one driver of overall satisfaction for pet-food purchasers (42 per cent), followed by value for money (25 per cent).

"Because Kiwis are so passionate about their pet's enjoyment of their food, Jimbo's provides them with premium quality meat for their pet's diet," George says. "More than three-quarters of New Zealanders [77 per cent] purchase their pet food from the supermarket, and Jimbo's is one of the premium brands found in the pet-food chillers and supermarket freezers."

The local brand came up against international competition such as Purina, a subsidiary of multinational Nestlé and manufacturers of brands such as Beneful and Friskies; Mars, which makes the Whiskas, Pedigree, Optimum and Royal Canin brands; and Heinz Watties, which produces Champ and Chef.

Dave Allan, general manager of Jimbo's, says the survey result is "quite a significant achievement for us - we were up against those multinationals and we won.

"Being the consumers' top choice is not just about the work of a single person - we've achieved this as a team. It's the work of our pet advisor, our production managment team, the quality-controller, the sales team that activate in store, the telesales team and the team running the manufacturing gear. Everything we do goes towards that result."

Allan says the award is a vindication of the company's philosophy of "nature knows best" - the Bombay Hills-based business has been producing raw-meat pet foods which are free of grains, fillers, artificial colours and flavours for more than 20 years.

"We are proud to be making products out of top-quality New Zealand ingredients, and making it fresh every day. We're a little business putting out good stuff, and beating the big boys."

Allan says he is also proud of the company's high rating in the "pet's enjoyment" category, as he considers animal feeding to be more of an "act of love" than a simple daily chore. "You want the best for your animals, and for them to not only get the nutrients they need from their food but also to enjoy eating it."

This ties in with the Canstar research showing how highly pet owners rate their animal's enjoyment when it comes to choosing a brand of pet food. It is also linked with another finding: that around a quarter of New Zealand pet owners (24 per cent) don't like feeding their pet the same food every day as they worry that it will get bored with it.

Other feeding-related questions in the research uncovered some of our other habits: while 45 per cent of Kiwis keep an eye on their pet's food intake, more than half (53 per cent) also give their pets food treats on top of their regular meals. Baby boomers are most likely to be guilty of this indulgence.

In addition, 6 per cent of New Zealand pet owners feed their pet straight from their plate at the dinner table - though this time it's the younger folk, Generation Y, who are most likely to slip treats to the dog or cat.

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