PET Food Processing - June 2018 - 18

Invested in

Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery quadrupled its processing
facility with a clear focus on growing other companies.

By Jennifer Semple |


The new 212,000-sq.-ft., primarily pet treat, processing plant in Harvard, Illinois, owned by Pedigree
Ovens and The Pound Bakery is designed to be flexible in both the type of products the company can produce and in what volumes. Small-batch capabilities
are just as important as large-volume production runs
and the planning behind this new facility reflects that.
As a leading co-manufacturer in the pet treat space,
Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery is clearly focused on helping its customers expand into new product areas. Each processing capability has the systems
necessary to offer the full range of batch sizes. This is
crucial for a company that helps its customers enter a
product category with the goal of them thriving in that
category. Kurt Stricker, president, and Lexie Berglund,
director of sales and marketing of Pedigree Ovens and
The Pound Bakery, see their role with customers as
much more than a supplier. They view the company as
a partner in its customers' future success. And the investment in the new, $32 million facility completed this
past December is a big bet on those partners.
"We built our business taking in smaller customers and grew with them," Berglund says. "We offered
them a lot of flexibility. Some manufacturers wouldn't
take on customers for less than a truckload or two
and we were willing to produce 300 lbs. or 500 lbs.
initially to help them figure out how to efficiently
package their products."



Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery isn't necessarily searching for those large customers who require
200,000-lb. production runs. "We're trying to be like the
'craft beer people' who can react to trends quickly, use
better ingredients, and take advantage of new ingredients or packaging that comes along," Stricker says. "We
want to help brands get to market quicker and increase
their offerings. The bigger building and additional capabilities and warehousing is all built around our customers' needs and how the market is changing."
Stricker explains that in the more than 20 years since
he opened Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery in
1997, he's seen human-like pet treats take over the
market. Although Stricker says he helps his customers
respond to the humanization trend, he may very well
have helped start it.

Father of humanization?
Stricker grew up working in his family's bakery owned
by both sets of his grandparents and eventually his parents. As one of three brothers working in the family
business in Harvard, Stricker decided to strike out on his
own. After meeting a woman at an equipment auction in
Chicago who had been producing humanized pet treats,
Stricker knew that was something he could produce. He
had never seen a pet treat that looked similar to human
food. He looked at small boutique pet shops and large
national pet specialty retailers in and around Chicago

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - June 2018