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Petco to Halt Sales of Pet Food with Artificial Ingredients

November 13, 2018
Image courtesy of Petco
Image courtesy of Petco

Retailer Petco is poised to become the first large retailer to halt sales of pet foods and treats containing artificial ingredients, flavors, and preservatives under a new initiative announced by the company Tuesday.

Starting this coming January, the company will begin the process of removing products containing the artificial ingredients, flavors, and preservatives. The transition is slated to reach completion in May 2019.

“Since our first store opened in 1965, Petco has been dedicated to ensuring the well-being of pets. That commitment continues today, with our decision to not carry food and treats for dogs and cats containing artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives,” the firm’s chief executive officer, Ron Coughlin, said in a Petco press release. “Some may question whether this makes good business sense, but putting pets’ health first has always been the right thing to do for Petco.”

Among the items listed for elimination are Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), FD&C Red No. 3, Butylated hytroxytoluene (BHT), Glycerol tributyrate, and benzaldehyde. Petco said the move is in response to customer concerns about the health and well-being of their pets. The company cited a survey that found 87% of pet owners said pet food with no artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors is important to the health of their animals. 

“Consumer opinions have more influence on company practices now than ever before, and market surveys have shown that pet owners are concerned about manufacturing and label transparency. Almost 70% of millennials are more likely to research and purchase foods with natural ingredients,” Dr. Susan Wynn, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist from BluePearl Veterinary Partners, said in a statement. “I think these well-informed pet owners will be please to know that they can count on Petco to stock the brands in which they believe, and I look forward to the rest of the industry following Petco’s lead.”

The company developed new standards for pet nutrition with the help of internal and consultant nutritionists, veterinarians, and wellness experts. As part of the shift to healthier foods and treats, Petco also plans to launch the Petco Pet Wellness Institute next year to research new ways to improve pets’ health and wellness. 

“We hope the rest of the pet industry will join us on this path to better health for the pets we love,” said Coughlin. 

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