Pet Innovation June 2024

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Welcome to the second quarterly issue of Pet Innovation: a new supplement to Garden Centre Retail magazine spotlighting the dynamic world of pet departments.

Firstly, thank you so much for your feedback on the previous issue, we really appreciate it and hope to continue to provide actionable and interesting articles, features and interviews.

In this edition, we’ve got two feature interviews I want to draw your attention to. The first one features Dan Reep, the head of pet for Squire’s Garden Centres. He’s had a long and prosperous career across all things animal, and it was great to get his insight into the pet sector within the garden retail market.

The second interview features Sam Peace of Waterside Garden Centre. You may recall that Waterside Garden Centre suffered a flooding issue at the beginning of the year and had to close their doors for repairs and refits. Peace gave me his time during the final stages of this process, and the store reopened a week or two after I spoke with him, which we’re delighted about. Peace opened up about his role as aquatics supervisor within the self-suffiecient Waterside Aquatics – a store within a store at the garden centre, and offered advice for garden centres that want to do aquatics properly.

We’ve got lots more within this issue that we hope you find useful. But if there’s any area you’d like us to cover, please do get in touch. It would be great to hear from you.

Enjoy your read!

Joe Wilkinson

Pet Industry Federation

Discover the dynamic strategies for retailing your pet products

Casco Pet

Learn about the steps to craft a captivating retail experience

Squire’s Garden Centres

An interview with pets and aquatics buyer, Dan Reep

Waterside Aquatics

Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complainrs, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

4 6 8 12 19 22 25

Learn about the thriving store within Waterside Garden Centre

A Trend or A Fad?

We explore the growing popularity of raw dog food

Raw Food Products

Take a look at the latest raw pet food options in the market

Dog Beds

Uncover the newest and cosiest dog beds hitting the market

3 WELCOME Pet Innovation | June 2024

OR To Sell Not To Sell


In recent years, garden centres across the UK have undergone a transformation, expanding their traditional offerings beyond plants and gardening supplies to include a diverse range of products and restaurant or cafe services. This strategic shift aims to capture the attention of customers while tapping into various growing market segments – one of which is pets. The decision to incorporate pet products in a garden centre can be provided in various formats, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

As the UK’s trade association for pet businesses, we wanted to explore in this article the landscape of selling pet products in UK garden centres and consider the options of a full pet department, a dedicated fixture, or a pet store concession.

Today’s pet market is worth nearly £8bn, comprising pet foods and accessories, pet insurance, vets, pet grooming and associated pet services such as daycare and pet boarding.

The introduction of pet products in garden centres offers several compelling advantages. Firstly, it attracts a new segment of customers – pet owners – who may not have previously visited a garden centre or who just visit to use the restaurant services. In addition, selling pet products can help even out seasonal traffic flows during the year if pet owners started to consider a garden centre as a destination shop for pet products. However, care must be taken to make sure a garden centre has the right product mix of pet products.

This influx of footfall can lead to increased sales and revenue, increasing the overall business prospects. Additionally, offering pet products alongside gardening supplies enhances customer convenience, providing

a one-stop shopping destination for both outdoor and indoor needs. This diversification of product offerings not only broadens a garden centre’s appeal but also helps develop customer loyalty and repeat business.

The synergy between gardening and pet products also opens up cross-selling opportunities, where customers purchasing plants may also be enticed to buy pet-safe fertilisers, pet-safe lawn products or pest control products. This cross-selling opportunity can enhance the shopping experience and boosts

selling pet products can help even out seasonal traffic flows during the year

sales potential. In addition, the introduction of pet products can create a holistic shopping environment where customers can find everything they need for their homes and gardens. This is particularly opportune today with the demise of the high street department store as customers are now looking for that new shopping experience.

Despite these advantages, there are several challenges that accompany the integration of pet products into garden centres. Chief among these is the competition posed by specialised pet stores, supermarkets and online shops, which offer a broader selection of pet products and services. This competitive landscape may make it challenging for garden centres to establish a foothold in the pet market and attract pet owners to make pet product purchases in a garden centre.

4 Pet Innovation | June 2024 OPINION

Additionally, managing the inventory for a full pet department, fixture, or pet store concession requires careful planning and monitoring to avoid stock shortages or excesses, which can impact profitability and customer satisfaction.

Garden centre staff will require additional training to become knowledgeable about pet products and pet care, adding to operational costs and complexity.

Pet owners visiting a pet store or department want advice, so if trained staff are not available the opportunity to have a full pet department are limited. Selling pets (small animals or fish) can offer theatre to a garden centre but trained staff and a licence to sell are required. The potential constraint of limited space within garden centres poses another challenge, as allocating sufficient area for pet products without compromising other offerings can be a difficult balancing act. These challenges underscore the need for careful consideration

and strategic planning when incorporating pet products into garden centres.

When considering the different formats for selling pet products, each option presents its own set of advantages and disadvantages. A full pet department offers a comprehensive range of products and greater control over operations but entails higher operational costs and heightened competition. On the other hand, a dedicated fixture provides costeffectiveness and targeted selection but will limit product offerings, cross-selling opportunities and potential sales.

A pet store concession offers expertise and brand recognition, along with reduced operational costs, but entails revenue sharing or just ground rent and limited control over operations. Each format requires an understanding of market dynamics, customer preferences, and operational considerations to maximise its potential and mitigate associated risks.

With circa 57% of all households owning a pet, integration of pet products into UK garden centres presents a compelling opportunity for garden centres for diversification and revenue growth. But each option requires careful deliberation and strategic planning to work through the complexities of the pet market

a well-executed strategy that integrates pet products into the garden centre experience can enhance customer satisfaction

effectively. By weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of different formats –whether a full pet department, fixture, or pet store concession – garden centres can target their approach to meet the needs of customers while driving business success in a competitive landscape. Ultimately, a well-executed strategy that integrates pet products into the garden centre experience can enhance customer satisfaction, encourage loyalty, and fuel longterm growth.

The Pet Industry Federation is the UK’s leading trade association for pet businesses. For more information about the pet industry or pet products visit

5 OPINION Pet Innovation | June 2024




Brick and mortar stores have become more than just a physical point of transaction. They are a place for interaction and entertainment. Now, around 80% of customers say experience is just as important as a company’s products and services. Providing ‘retail theatre’ is therefore essential to captivate clientele and bring a whole new dimension to your store. Here are our top tips to create an unforgettable retail experience in your pet division:

Setting the scene

Also known as experiential retail or retailtainment, retail theatre goes beyond shopping to provide an engaging, immersive experience for customers in store. This results in more favourable brand evaluation from consumers, fostering a stronger connection with the company and its products. A point of strategic differentiation, it encourages longer visits from consumers and word-of-mouth recommendation – boosting sales, short- and long-term.

1. Expert advice

advantage of the popular ‘shop local’ movement and collaborate with experts in your area.

2. Striking enclosures

Live animals drive footfall and bring customers back time and time again. Creating an unforgettable experience that prioritises animal wellbeing requires the right enclosures.

Aesthetics matter. With the right enclosures, you can transport your consumers to another world – from rainforest to sea, desert to meadow. Think vibrant, attention-grabbing displays and eye-catching centrepieces, with natural graphics or strategic lighting that highlights key features.

Providing natural, speciesrelevant enrichment creates a stimulating environment for animals and allows them to display natural behaviours. This makes for calmer, happier pets –inspiring purchases. A logical route can also make a huge difference.

3. Engage the senses

4. Pet-friendly offerings

People love to bring their four-legged friends with them – so cater to them, too. This could include instore sampling, free pet treats and water stations. For special events, think doggy dress ups with a pet polaroid wall.

Knowledgeable advice from approachable staff will instil confidence in customers and position you as a trusted source for purchases. Inviting veterinarians, trainers or animal specialists to deliver demos and educational sessions can teach current or prospective owners about pet care, from nutrition to physical and mental stimulation and more. You could also take

Pet engagement offers customers a chance to connect with their future pets. Create a fun, familyfriendly culture with animal handling days, where children can learn more about pet care. Consider other interactive activities too, such as treasure maps for children to take around the store to locate different types of pets, plants or flowers.

Don’t underestimate the impact of creating an ‘Instagrammable’ space. Unique, stand-out décor provides for organic photo opportunities. Create a custom hashtag and make a monthly photo competition with an in-store voucher prize.

It’s clear that nothing creates excitement or entices customers quite like retail theatre. With these steps, you can provide an unrivalled experience to bring your brand to life, outclass the online offering and retain that all-important competitive edge.

Matthew Bubear is the CEO of CASCO Pet, a leading manufacturer of world-class animal habitats and veterinary kennelling. An innovative entrepreneur, he has over 30 years of experience in the pet retail industry – driven by his passion for animal wellness.

6 Pet Innovation | June 2024 OPINION

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Istarted in the aquatic industry over 30 years ago – I went to Sparsholt college, and I started off in the fish farming route, and worked on trout farms and ornamental fish farms, including in Israel. Eventually, I arrived in the garden centre sector.

I then started working for a big garden centre near Aylesbury, which was then bought-out by Wyevale. It was Wyevale that introduced small animals, and I was running the pet and aquatics operation there. When Wyevale took over the independent centre, it introduced livestock to the shop, which was a bit of a surprise for me because that’s not something I’d anticipated doing. But it provided great experience for me.

From there, I was promoted to its head office up in Hereford, which then evolved into a buying position. At the time, they had over 100 stores, and most of them

had pets and aquatics in some way, shape or form.

When did you join Squire’s and how long have you been with this business?

I went travelling for a couple of years, in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. When I came back, I was looking at job options. The owners of what was then Badshot Lea Garden Centre, Caffyn Parsons, knew my history and got in touch with me asking if I’d like to come and run the big pets and aquatics department. A friend of mine who worked for Casco had told me about the business, and I knew that Caffyn Parsons was doing some quite groundbreaking stuff; it was the first aquatic store with a belt filter for example. They were using agricultural fisheries, new filtration systems for kois outside, and all new Casco acrylic highly engineered set ups inside. They had heavily invested in this, and so I was excited to join the team.

Shortly after this, Squire’s then took over the garden centre.

When you were taken on by Squire’s, did they have a pets and aquatics department, or was that something that you were tasked with?

When Squire’s acquired Badshot Lea, that was the biggest pet and aquatic department that they had in the business. At the time, the business was looking at pets and aquatics in a small way in some stores, mainly Twickenham. In those days, Squire’s sold large amounts of Hill’s Science Diet for cat owners, because of the demographic in the area, which was a lot of cat owners. Pet offerings were in-store in a strategic way; there was the demand and so an opportunity.

What’s your role now? And what does your day-to-day job involve?

We have five stores with pets and aquatics.

8 Pet Innovation | June 2024

Most of those were part of an existing business that we took over and decided to keep because it was an important part of the centre. My job involves working with over 50 suppliers, which keeps me very busy. That always changes and evolves with the business, so I’m keeping all product listings up to date. We have POS that needs constantly updating, price changes, deletions, additions, and replacements.

Sales analysis is a big part of what we do with our EPoS, and we’re constantly tweaking our ranges and introducing new products, running promotional activities. This is an important part of what we do in this category.

I’m also involved operationally with day to day running of the five pet and aquatic stores. I’m involved with recruitment, updating point of sale and I also continue to manage the department at Badshot Lea, which is also the location of our group office, home to the

administrative teams that support our centres. I do the buying across the department too.

With your role of working with suppliers, do you deal directly with them, or does it tend to be wholesale?

We work in a number of ways. We deal with Pedigree on the pet side and ALF on the aquatic side – both of which do a really good job at looking after us.

When we’re looking at things like raw feeding for dog food for example, we tend to go to the supplier. With the quirky, new, smaller suppliers, we tend to deal with them directly. Our main consumables come from main wholesalers.

In terms of revenue contribution to the business, what does the pet department account for?

It very much depends on the store... Where we have pets in store, it will be a significant part of the centre.

How important is sustainability to the business?

It’s very important to us. We have colleagues focused on our sustainability drive who are looking at the business in terms of recycling and energy saving. We’ve implemented electric vehicles and insulation. It’s an important part of what we do going forward to make our business sustainable and get there as fast as we can.

Sales analysis is a big part of what we do with our EPoS, and we’re constantly tweaking our ranges and introducing new products, running promotional activities

Regarding your typical customer demographic in the pet sectors, what does that look like? Is it someone that visits specifically for the pet departments, or are you finding that they’re impulse buying in pet?

It’s a bit of both. We have loyal pet and aquatic customers who especially come and visit us. There’s also a synergy with our pet departments and our restaurants; when our restaurants are doing well, you’ll see our pets are doing well. Very often this is linked to weather!

What types of products are most successful?

So, we are seeing raw feeding for dogs as something that is an important category; dog treats as well. Dog food is very strong. But raw feeding and frozen raw feeding is the biggest growth category we’ve seen. This has been helped by the increase in numbers of dog owners. That seems to have remained strong or growing for the past few years.

Are you still selling livestock?

We do, but we sell less livestock than we used

9 FEATURE Pet Innovation | June 2024

to. We used to do birds. I personally felt that was a little bit old fashioned, and obviously there are welfare issue with birds. We no longer sell rabbits too as it’s very hard to keep them properly – lots of space is needed and they need a lot of attention. They’re very sociable animals and if they’re kept in small environments, they don’t do well, or they start fighting with each other. It’s quite complex. We’ve reduced our small animal offer and now offer guinea pigs and rodents.

Do you find that a lot of families visit without the intention of buying – like the department is sort of an attraction? Is that a challenge to you, or do you see that as a real opportunity?

We are certainly a destination. When

Dog food is very strong. But raw feeding and frozen raw feeding is the biggest growth category we’ve seen. This has been helped by the increase in numbers of dog owners

you have a restaurant as well as a pets department and an aquatics offering, you’ve got a lot to offer and the location starts to become a destination. If you do it in a proper way, it can be done well and become a real asset to the centre. When it’s done properly, and the customers can see that, then it can only be a benefit.

In terms of doing it correctly, the business has made the decision to

keep the pet and aquatics department in-house. What do you think of concessions in this sector – do you see that being a viable opportunity for garden centres? Or do you think from a commercial perspective, you’re better off doing it in-house?

It’s hard to find people who know aquatics, who understand the gardening industry and how these sectors work together. In the garden centre industry, and I see it a lot, you’ll see some pet departments that try and do everything. They may not be specialists, and this is where franchises come into their own. They can be a real benefit to the garden centre business where centres don’t want to necessarily get involved in the pet category.

What are the plans for your department within the business?

With five specialist pet stores now, is that something you’re looking at increasing? And is there scope and opportunity to increase that?

We will always look at opportunities to grow the pet category at other centres given the opportunity to do so – where there’s space, and where we feel like we could do that. We do evaluate opportunities. We had a Maidenhead Aquatics at our West Horsley centre, which was a franchise, and we took that in-house. That’s worked well for us. When the opportunities arise or if they come along, or if a franchise leaves, we’ll consider pets within it.

10 Pet Innovation | June 2024 FEATURE

THE BENEFITS OF AN Aquatics centre


Waterside Garden Centre, in Baston – near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire – is a family-run garden centre which has been situated on the site of an old watercress farm since 1990. Set up and still owned by Andy Parrot, the business made the decision to deploy an aquatics centre in store in the early 2000s.

Waterside Aquatics, the shop inside the centre, is managed by Paul Hasler, a stalwart in the aquatics industry for the past 40 years. Hasler’s team consists of two supervisors and two part-time weekend team members, and the five of them handle 240sqm of retail space.

Sam Peace, one of the two supervisors, and an avid aquatics hobbyist, has been with the business for five years. Peace says that the aquatics department is around 10% of the annual turnover for the garden centre.

Selling livestock

Peace explains that the aquatics centre is a run of the mill aquatics shop. “There are 15 bays of tropical livestock,” he says. “We’ve got 12 pond vats with various species through there. We supply the average garden pond with koi up to about 16. We don’t sell marine livestock now, we only sell freshwater.”

It’s fair to say that the centre is designed to be the go-to shop for the beginner fish owner. Peace comments: “Yes, I would agree with that. We try, where we can, to develop customers into the slightly bigger aquariums. Sometimes, people expect the care of an aquarium to be a small amount of time from their day to day and they think they’ll set a tank up and think about it once a week. It is mainly the beginner for us though.”

The typical customer for Waterside Aquatics is usually one that comes to the store out of convenience. But around 60% of business is through those customers that are coming

12 Pet Innovation | June 2024 FEATURE

specifically for the aquatics centre. “In terms of dedicated customers that come in exclusively for us, that’s probably going to make up around 60% of our business as an estimate. A lot of it is passing trade – those thinking about setting up a small garden pond. We do get people who come in for specific reasons, and we have lots of regular customers with whom we’ve spent years developing relationships. Locally, there’s less of a demand for a specialist aquatics centre, so people will go where they can get stock at the end of the day,” explains Peace.

The centre has seen a change in the consumer market since covid. The team has noticed a shift in customer behavior, where previous regulars are now primarily visiting for livestock purchases, rather than their previous purchases of food and other aquarium accessories. By the power of deduction and buying patterns, it seems as though these customers are now purchasing more online than before.

But selling online is something the team has considered, although this may be something that happens in the distant future. Peace explains: “It’s a massively time-consuming

venture, and you’re going to have to employ another member of staff to either pick up the slack for me or for Hasler when those things are done. And let’s face it, if you’re not moving stock in major quantities, then you’re not going to get the margin you want from it, so it might not be worth the time.”

Best sellers

Because, in Peace’s words, Waterside Aquatics is an aquatic centre catering to most parts of the trade, it has decided not to go down the speciality route – but it does sell a large amount of live bearers, guppys, mollys and the likes.

“Simple things like neon tetras and cardinals, they are always going to be popular because when people think of tropical fish, that’s the goto,” says Peace.

“Angelfish, and things like that, are big movers. We also sell a lot of pond fish – more of the smaller goldfish. We sell a lot of them over the summer to people setting up small garden ponds.

“We do sell a few koi and some of the more upmarket things. We’re trying as hard as we can to break into that market, but it’s verging

on the specialist rather than just that general home aquarium.”

In terms of dry stock, the centre shifts a lot of food and treatments for water changes. When

Simple things like neon tetras and cardinals, they are always going to be popular because when people think of tropical fish, that’s the go-to

it comes to food, the company has made the decision to offer customers their own brand options. “To put it bluntly, it’s a good margin for us, and they can only get it here,” explains Peace. “If they like it, and want it, they’ll come back to us. It’s good business.”

Some other best-sellers in store are the plastic plants. “We sell a lot more plastic pink plants that we do intricate pieces of wood or rock, because it’s what people want, and you have to comply with the consumer,” comments Peace.

13 FEATURE Pet Innovation | June 2024

Educating customers

Aquatic centres are often visited by parents and young children, who are keen to see live fish in the tanks whilst out shopping. This could be seen as an issue for stores, taking staff members away from their duties with little likelihood of a sale.

“Let’s face it, on a busy Easter weekend if you’ve got a queue of customers and you have someone who wants to have a lengthy conversation but they just want to know generally, not really from a point of purchasing, that might seem to be a frustration,” explains Peace.

But, also, if you don’t encourage that from an early stage, you’re never going to

we see a lot of people that may well start the hobby for their children. They’ll come in, get a starter tank and they will get the bits and pieces to fill it up and set it up

see progression from them. I started the hobby when I was 12 years old, and some of my first memories are of going into a Maidenhead Aquatics and probably spending 20 to 30 minutes speaking with a member of that team. Now, it is the

everyday world for me and I wouldn’t be without a fish tank.

“At the end of the day, if people are asking, it’s because they want to know. The other side of that is we see a lot of people that may well start the hobby for their children. They’ll come in, get a starter tank and they will get the bits and pieces to fill it up and set it up. They spend six months maintaining that tank for their children and then they end up enjoying the hobby and will get a tank for the kitchen and the living room. You must try and grab onto any business you can – you don’t want to turn anyone away, you’re not too righteous for anyone’s custom.”

And in many pet stores and aquariums, customers go through a vetting process, with the welfare of the fish a top priority. This is can be a challenge for the team, as they must find the right balance between the sale and what’s best for the livestock. “You don’t want to intervene so little as to be careless, but also, you don’t want to tell someone what they can and can’t do,” he explains.

“We operate on a philosophy that the customer has decided to get in the car and come to us, and although we will try to steer them away from some things, we’ll always make sure we’re not telling them outright ‘no, you can’t do this’.

When it comes to customers purchasing a tank and wanting to set it up immediately, Peace and the team strongly advise against

it, prioritising the wellbeing of the fish and ensuring a smooth and sustainable setup process. “There will always be people who do things that you don’t want, but unfortunately, that’s what people do. They may be taking advice from somebody online and running with that. We would let them know if certain fish aren’t compatible, or that might be a bit too much in one go for your first lot of fish for

14 Pet Innovation | June 2024 FEATURE

the tank. But it can be difficult, as you also don’t want to discourage someone.”



So what are the development plans for the aquatics department?

“We’re always looking to competitors,” comments Peace. “When we visit another aquatics centre and see something that’s doing

well, we’ve got to ask the question, why don’t we do that? What are they doing that we’re not?

In terms of growth, expanding the department’s space presents challenges. It is likely that the current size is the maximum available. However, its focus shifts towards innovation, developing new products, and, as previously mentioned, expanding its own brand offerings.

“We want to develop the store and we would love to become a destination shop,” says Peace. “I have driven hours to go to a shop I really want to visit, and I’d love that for us. We need to try and utilise social media and grow our branding a bit more, but it’s timeconsuming and it doesn’t happen overnight.”


“It’s exciting to encourage other garden centres to have these aquatic centres. However, if you don’t do it on a big scale – if you don’t have multiple bays of tanks, or many pond vats, or if you aren’t willing to dedicate the resources and the time, it’s a difficult market. The only way to do it well is to do it on a big scale.”

When discussing the benefits of employing a franchise to come in and set up a concession, Peace adds: “It’s an immediate brand in your shop. They are guaranteed the income, and by proxy you’re also guaranteeing income yourself.

The other option, of course, is garden centres opening aquatic departments themselves. Peace comments: “We’ve noticed a lot recently that people want to support smaller businesses where they can. We’ve had customers come from other centres for whatever purpose or reason. There are pros and cons to each way. You get your guaranteed income from somebody who will come in and open a shop, but just from being told how much they were going to rent the shop out for 20 years ago, the monetary value that the garden centre must see from doing it themselves is quite drastically more. Yes, you’ve got the overheads of staff and you’ve got to deal with the losses and all those things, but if you can grow it as a brand and a dedicated shop, it can reap its rewards. If you’re only going to dip your toes in, it doesn’t work.”

So, it’s all in, or nothing in Peace’s opinion? “That’s sort of it,” he says. “If you’re going to do it half-heartedly and try and skim with it, I don’t think it will be the same. Go all in or let someone else do it. You’re always going to attract a new customer base for the garden centre, and footfall for aquatics is still footfall for the garden centre. Customers might come in to get themselves some pond food, but then see a birthday card on the way out, for example. It is about encouraging footfall and having a variety on offer to make it worth visiting.”

15 FEATURE Pet Innovation | June 2024



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A TREND OR A FAD? Raw Dog Food:



Arecent rise in pet ownership in the UK offers retailers a plethora of revenue potential, and there’s no more potential in any other sector than raw dog food.

What is raw dog food?

According to The Kennel Club, the raw dog food diet is mainly made up of uncooked and minimally processed ingredients. Raw dog food refers to a type of pet food that is made primarily from uncooked animal ingredients. It typically includes raw meat, bones, organs, fruits, and vegetables.

Petplan, a pet insurance specialist, says: “Because raw food is often minimally processed, the nutrients are more biologically available for the dog to use and this can help with things like reducing stool size (and, luckily for the owners, smell). There have been other reported benefits such as improved skin, coat and dental health.

Most kibble diets contain at least 30% starch, which breaks down into sugars. Kibble contains roughly 8% to 12% moisture compared with 70% to 80% in a raw food diet. The huge increase in moisture in a raw diet, compared with a kibble diet, is thought to assist in keeping the body naturally hydrated, supporting the efficient functioning of the dog’s organs.

Additionally, you don’t tend to see overweight raw food-fed dogs. Raw food helps regulate insulin levels in the body and results in fewer mood changes, so dogs tend to be calmer on a raw food diet.

Why raw food?

Other than the reasons above, the rise in raw food may be a cultural change

There have been other reported benefits such as improved skin, coat and dental health

in the attitudes towards our pets. It’s no secret that those of the Millennial generation are shunning parenthood in favour of pet parenting, and with the rise in other pet accessories such as clothing and even nail polish, dogs in particular are having human-like personalities bestowed upon them.

Pet owners now want the best for their furry friend, much like they would for a human child, and one way they can do this is to

19 FEATURE Pet Innovation | June 2024

make sure they’re eating well. Again, according to PetPlan, raw dog and puppy foods on the market today are very different from those of 10 years ago. The commercialisation of raw dog foods has made them much safer. Before raw dog food is sold to the public, it is frozen down to very cold temperatures to kill off bacteria.

In addition, dogs have a naturally high acidic pH in their stomach, which can efficiently break down food and small bone and kill bacteria.

With an influx of raw food producers, retailers have the means to get these products into the hands of the buyer

The opportunity

Homemade raw food diets are risky for consumers since these can expose dogs to salmonella and other bacteria, while also being improperly balanced from a nutritional perspective. With an influx of raw food producers, retailers have the means to get these products into the hands of the buyer.

According to Marketing Made Clear, the UK pet food market grew to £3.1bn in 2020, with pet food accounting for 46%.

The UK pet food market is expected to grow by over 14% over the next five years.

The rise of the “real food movement” –a movement that sees the public turn away from ultra-processed foods and towards fresh, unprocessed ingredients – has changed the market. This contributed to the rise of raw dog food.

Over the next four years, the UK Pet Food Market is set to grow by £385m.

Conservative estimates place growth in the UK Pet Food Market at 7-10% compared to around 35% growth in the previous period.

Premium foods are set for a faster growth spurt with a larger slice of the market. This, alongside the fact that

raw foods are becoming more affordable as the trend increases, will see a significant rise in raw dog food.

According to a recent article by William D. P. Green MA MBA BA, “the predicted growth in market share of raw dog foods, coupled with the wider forecasts for both dog food and pet food suggest that we are only just seeing the beginning of the rise of the raw dog food segment. Combining data sources and various estimates into an extrapolation provide a series of scenarios for industry growth up until 2027. With this in mind, future growth in the raw dog food sector makes it a viable market for the garden retail sector. By exploring these opportunities, garden centres can cater to the growing demand for raw dog food and position themselves as trusted sources for high-quality, nutritionally sound options.

20 Pet Innovation | June 2024 FEATURE
SUBSCRIBE TODAY May 2024 Issue 77 Amy Stubbs Driving British Garden Centres’ future success Workplace Wellbeing Pugh’s inspiring staff wellbeing initiatives Laylocks Refit A 250% increase in the restaurant, how did they do it? £32 per quarter April 2024 Issue 76 Ricky Towers BGC’s restaurant director shares his experiences EV Charging 101 What opportunities exist for garden centres? Loyalty schemes A fad or a genuine benefit for your customers? TECHNOLOGY SPECIAL February 2024 Issue 74 Are you allergy aware? Learn the do’s and do nots for allergens on page 30 Going Electric Are electric delivery vehicles a viable option? Turning to Solar Garsons teams up with Solarwatt for a PV install Benchmarking in 2024 Andrew Burton highlights the importance of targets March 2024 Issue 75 Samen-Schmitz A green gem in the heart of Munich The pot sector Colours, materials, sizes – what’s trending? Pest control Valuing hygiene and safeguarding reputation Bulbs Spring-flowering bulbs perfect for your centre Contact Luke for more information 01903 777580

Raw Treat Pet Food Chicken Feet 1kg

Raw Dog Food Company

Raw meaty chunks and bones satisfy a dog’s natural instinct to chomp and chew. Whole chicken feet consist of soft bone, tendons, cartilage and skin, and benefit both dental health and mental engagement. Chicken feet are rich in chondroitin and glucosamine which support joint health, skin and coat condition and muscle development. Sourced from British chickens.

RRP: £3.75



Turkey & Superfoods raw dog food

Billy + Margot

Grain free, nutritionally balanced and complete turkey raw dog food. Made with the highest quality ingredients including human grade meat, bone, offal, seasonal vegetables and our unique superfood blend to ensure your dog is always happy and healthy. Turkey is the perfect lower fat option for your dog whilst still getting the high protein and benefits that come with a raw food diet.

RRP: £3.00

Boneless Beef formula – Adult 500g tub


Nutriment’s raw boneless beef for dogs recipe is specifically formulated by our in-house canine nutritionists to contain all the vital nutrition your dog needs to thrive. Featuring 100% human-grade quality beef, biologically appropriate vegetables and nutrientdense superfoods, our raw beef dog food contains quality protein, essential fatty acids and nutrients to promote optimal canine health. We believe that food enjoyment is an important part of your dog’s happiness, so we make sure our boneless beef formula is packed with flavour, well textured and easy to digest. Like all of our food products, our boneless beef formula is free from grains, fillers and artificial ingredients.

RRP: £2.99

Essentials Lamb Dinner

Paleo Ridge

Essentials Lamb Dinner is a grainfree, complete and balanced meal supplemented with seasonal vegetables and extra virgin olive oil. Suitable for all life stages including puppies and seniors, this product offers all the benefits of raw feeding, whilst offering the best value for their owners.

RRP: £2.10

Duck complete raw food meal

ProDog Raw

The duck complete raw dog food meal is a delicious and healthy recipe. A blend of quality, fresh meat and ground duck bone (from Defra approved, British Farm Assurance certified local farms), packed with seasonal vegetables, superfoods and infused with the best quality Scottish salmon oil. Suitable for all dogs (24 weeks-plus).

RRP: £3.60

22 Pet Innovation | June 2024 PRODUCTS

Breathable Highly breathable HexiVent material on your dog’s back. Water can flow through, and the ventilated top can help prevent your dog from overheating.

SAFE-T wrap system

Our unique SAFE-R buoyancy construction ensures that your dog is kept afloat and stable relative to the waterline. The foam is placed on the side for increased buoyancy and freedom of movement. The panels are split into sections to allow your dog to turn without being restricted by the vest.

Unique construction

By combining the SAFE-T wrap system and the wide chest straps, the pressure is evenly distributed,

Unique construction

Unique construction

Our unique SAFE-R buoyancy construction ensures that your dog is kept afloat and stable relative to the waterline. The foam is placed on the side for increased buoyancy and freedom of movement. The panels are split into sections to allow your dog to turn without being restricted by the vest.

Our unique SAFE-R buoyancy construction ensures that your dog is kept afloat and stable relative to the waterline. The foam is placed on the side for increased buoyancy and freedom of movement. The panels are split into sections to allow your dog to turn without being restricted by the vest.



Highly breathable HexiVent material on your dog’s back. Water can flow through, and the ventilated top can help prevent your dog from overheating.

Highly breathable HexiVent material on your dog’s back. Water can flow through, and the ventilated top can help prevent your dog from overheating.


The shape of the vest allows your dog’s front legs to move freely, meaning your dog can move more efficiently in and out of the water.


The life jacket is equipped with a sturdy handle in case you need to lift your dog up on your paddle board, the dock or in the boat.

SAFE-T wrap system

By combining the SAFE-T wrap system and the wide chest straps, the pressure is evenly distributed, making the vest comfortable and safe for your dog. or

making the vest comfortable and safe for your dog.
For more information reach out to

We are the trade association for businesses that operate in the pet sector, providing business support, market advice, training and representation for the pet industry



Receive business and product advice, legislation support, resources and documents. Regular webinars on all topics to support your business development.


Gain access to PIF MarketPlace, our advertising brochure for members; learn about new pet products and receive a free listing to pet owners in our ‘Find a Pet Business’ Directory.


Online courses for you and your staff on a range of pet related topics and discounted attendance at our industryleading Awards event and Business of Pets conference.

Receive regular e-newsletters to help keep you updated on all pet industry matters. Access to government and regulatory updates that affect you and your pet business.


Free legal helpline and additional cost saving benefits such as card processing, software, fuel card and training discounts.

PAW-SOME dog beds


Calming Pet Bed

Bella & Toby

Calming Bed is the perfect spot – a must-have for your adorable cat or dog. The calming bed protects animals from the anxiety caused by loud noises, like thunderstorms and fireworks. Bella&Toby puts usability, comfort, and a decade of expertise at the centre of the process during this Calming Pet Bed development. The result? They have developed one of the best dog beds in the UK. Just pull the bed out, and your customer’s puppy will look forward to jumping on it and diving into its fantastic softness.

RRP: £104

Fetch Pet Bed

Sophie Allport

This rectangular shaped dog bed is water resistant and made from durable fabric, as well as featuring cosy faux sherpa detailing for extra comfort, and is the perfect place for your dog to curl up and get a good night’s sleep. Covered in Sophie’s illustrations of dachshunds, cockapoos, dalmatians, jack russells, west highland terriers, cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, British bulldogs, and chocolate brown labradors on a beautiful sage background.

RRP: £78

Danish Design Retreat Eco-Wellness Duvet

Danish Design Pet Products Ltd

These sustainable mattress style beds are the perfect place for your dog to retreat. Fabric covers are 100% cotton; the inner is made with easy care water resistant fabric to reduce the ingress of water and dirt, and is also filled with 100% recycled blended memory foam crumb filling. This offers enhanced support for elderly or infirm dogs, or can help any dogs who may need extra support or pets with joint problems. Available in medium and large sizes, and in three designs: Feathers Navy Stone, Feathers Grey Duck Egg and Geo Tile.

RRP: From £59.49 to £89.99

Country Orthopaedic Walled Dog Bed

George Barclay

The George Barclay Country walled dog bed is a contemporary dog bed, inspired by classic ‘country’ fashion elements. A Tweed corduroy pillow and inner sidewalls, paired with contrasting quilted outer sidewalls provides the beds signature styling. The bed is finished with detailed elements, which include signature brass studs, faux suede piping and embroidered brand logo.

RRP: £79.99

25 PRODUCTS Pet Innovation | June 2024

Sleepy Burrows Bed

Lords and Labradors

The ultimate in luxury pet snuggle havens, the Lords & Labradors Sleepy Burrows Bed in Cream Faux Fur offers sumptuous comfort for any fourlegged friend. With a removable cover for easy cleaning and a cosy hood to curl up under, your fur baby will want for nothing. Crafted from a super soft plush, short faux fur fabric to provide extra indulgence, this bed is machine-washable too. Available in three sizes, this is the perfect bed to match any Lords & Labradors crate.

RRP: £79.99

Eco Luxe Orthopaedic Luxury Dog Bed

Baker & Bray

Voted Best Dog Bed 2024 by The Telegraph, Baker & Bray’s passion for dogs combined with its desire to live in a more sustainable world led them to create the Eco Luxe range of luxury dog beds with eco-friendly orthopaedic memory foam – available in small, medium, large or extra large, with a choice of eight stylish colours designed to complement any home. The unique geometrical calming dog sofa bed shape and carefully selected anti-anxiety pet bed materials keep your dog cool, calm and help prevent overheating. The soft and durable luxury outer fabric is made from ocean-bound plastic bottles and is officially verified by the Global Recycle Standard (GRS). The orthopaedic memory foam used in the central dog bed cushion comes from rescued offcuts from other premiumgrade solid memory foam products that were otherwise destined for landfill.

RRP: £139

Highland Box Bed Scruffs

The Boneo Ivy & Duke

A big slice of indulgence for dogs that like to perch their head on the arm of the sofa or bed. It consists of a foam base and a top layer of memory foam, which offers incredible support. The Boneo is perfectly shaped for the central area to take the main weight of your dog, while their head rests on the outer edges. The outer cover is made from upholsterygrade fabric that is easy to remove for machine washing. Inside, the 40kg/3 density memory foam is protected by a waterproof inner-liner. The Boneo in available in five colourways with a checked coloured top and coordinating plain coloured side panels.

RRP: From £125

The Scruffs Highland dog bed collection has been produced predominantly using a rich chenille fabric. The vibrant blue colours are complemented with a distinctive tartan print, combined with faux suede piping and centre patch with an embroidered Scruffs® logo. Each bed has a non-slip base. The blue highland box bed is made using a one-piece construction providing greater support and enhanced durability during washing. This dog bed box is available in multiple sizes and colours.

RRP: £34.99

26 Pet Innovation | June 2024 PRODUCTS

Garden Centre Expo 2024 is the only business growth event for the UK garden retail market, that offers the unique combination of a B2B exhibition and a comprehensive conference programme. With a strong focus on effective product selection, and pet product sales up by £286m in the last five years, Garden Centre Expo 2024 will present the perfect opportunity for pet buyers and pet shop operators to ensure that they are finding the perfect products to take full advantage of this growth!


NEW WEBSITE Latest news | Online features Special focuses | And more... & AubiChick 100% natural Saves time and money Less waste Sustainable and organic Produced without pesticides Highly absorbent Reduces smell Low dust Composts fast Nourishing for the land Great for allotments, gardens and land maintenance Supreme hemp bedding for all animals and birds
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Buddy's grain-free, all natural recipes. High levels of fresh meat cater to the innate carnivore in dogs, ensuring a meal that's as delicious as it is nutritious.

Expertly crafted recipes only the finest British ingredients, promising royal treat for cats and dogs alike. Expertly crafted recipes use only the finest British ingredients, promising a royal treat for cats and dogs alike.

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