PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 24
Thinkers meat sticks
are Plato's topselling dog treats.
turkey strips with pumpkin, sweet potatoes or cranberries. The company recently started selling Thinker meat
sticks individually packaged and sold more last year in
dollar value of the single-serve configuration than it
sold in any other configuration.
Plato's goal for each product is to offer a healthy treat
made with an easy-to-understand, short list of ingredients that dogs go crazy for. In addition to the small
bites, strips and sticks made in its Fresno facility, Plato
has added three product lines from outside processors. A single-ingredient, dehydrated, fish-skin treat
made of Icelandic cod is produced in Iceland and packaged by Plato. A wild Alaskan salmon oil is produced
in Alaska, and the company's new small-batch, lamb,
beef and pork, bone broth is produced in Fresno at a
human-grade bottling facility.
Plato's original processing line produces the small
bites and strip products. "It's pretty simple," Merrell
says. "We started off with some equipment that was off
the shelf, and we adapted that equipment to meet our
needs. Then we ended up replacing that with our own
design, and that's worked out well for us."
The second production line is the reason Merrell
invited Pet Food Processing to visit Plato's Fresno facility. This is the meat sticks line that faced extinction. As
Merrell puts it, Plato needed to make a quantum leap,
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