PET Food Processing - June 2018 - 20

"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."
Kurt Stricker
The company has
grown by an average
of 30% each year
producing primarily
baked dog treats.


and found they weren't offering any product like that, or
if they were it was very expensive.
Stricker bought a piece of equipment from the auction and started producing humanized pet treats in
5,000 feet of space divided between four rooms in an
old dairy building that his dad owned. His first products
were not dog bones. They were more humanized, sheeted biscuits for dogs that looked like graham crackers.
Stricker also produced donuts, hexagon-shaped cookies,
mini honey-wheat bagels and cheese sticks - all formulated for dogs. His line quickly grew to 11 different dog
treats available in bulk and his first customer was a large
grocery store chain that Pedigree Ovens and The Pound
Bakery employees would stock weekly.
Stricker began making dog treats using ingredients he
was familiar with from his experience at the family bakery. Today the focus is still on human quality ingredients
and creating the cleanest ingredient panels possible.
One day Stricker was asked to produce a private label
treat for a customer, and the rest, they say, is history. "At the
time, brokers were dictating where products were distributed," Stricker says. "The industry has changed so much with
the humanized treats. So many smaller companies are now
able to sell their products across the country."
Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery has grown
organically by an average of 30% each year producing
primarily baked dog treats. Less than 2% of their current business is complete and balanced pet diets. They
produce bird food, fish food, horse treats, reptile treats
and even kangaroo treats. The company also produces a
few house brands. Its TreatSimple line features five main
ingredients with each formula offering key superfoods,
and the Wholesome Mutt line of organic dog treats just
launched in March of this year.
Since its beginning, Pedigree Ovens and The Pound
Bakery has always been a full-service company. "We
would take the products we produced for customers,
package them and warehouse them for our customers,"
Stricker says. "We had to start turning customers away
three years ago because we just didn't have the space." The


company maxed out its existing 50,000-sq.-ft. building,
and Stricker went "all in" on the future growth potential
of pet treats and pet food and decided to build a new, quadruple-the-size, 212,000-sq.-ft. processing facility.

All roads lead to packaging
The new facility was designed from the ground up on
22 acres. Out of the 212,000 sq. ft., nearly half, 100,000
sq. ft., is warehouse and storage; 11,000 sq. ft. is office,
and another 100,000 sq. ft. is dedicated to processing
and packaging. The processing space is divided into four
rooms with their own focus: baking, hot extrusion, cold
extrusion and dry blending. Each processing room feeds
into a common packaging area. The new facility is SQF
approved and FSMA compliant.
Hot extrusion and dry blending are new capabilities.
The company offered cold extrusion for the past two
years, but that was happening in a different space. "We
saw a niche that could be filled by taking our customers that are just doing baked treats and offering them
the ability to produce multiple products in hot extrusion, cold extrusion with functional ingredients and dry
blending," Stricker says. "We can now offer a wider variety and help them expand their brands."
Pedigree Ovens and The Pound Bakery is focused on
helping customers break into new markets. Berglund
explains, "This is a huge opportunity for our customers
to grow into new product areas. We have customers that
sell a good volume of baked treats, and now we can help
them expand their product line with dental sticks and
other extruded products. The minimum run for our extruded machines will be between 10,000 lbs. and 20,000
lbs. Some customers might not be able to reach that
minimum initially. We're planning to develop house recipes that brands can purchase in smaller minimums to
help them get started. Then they'll be able to order custom recipes and reach our minimums once they grow
the new product line. Doing this allows brands to get
into a market where they wouldn't be able to otherwise."
The new facility features ingredient storage in a sepa-

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