Dog experts detect opportunity in subscription e-commerce market
Co. Down-based husband and wife duo, Christopher and Bridgeen Hanlon, have launched NI’s first-ever, subscription-model, dog food delivery start-up – Werewolf Food. Founded in January of this year, the company plans to secure a big bite of the dog food market in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, with hundreds of customers already secured in its first six months of trading.
The UK subscription box market has gone from strength to strength in the last five or so years and the latest report on the sector, from parcels carrier Royal Mail, said it should reach a total value of £1 billion by as soon as 2022. Some significant success stories include cosmetics-based Glossybox, cookery-based Hello Fresh and florist Bloom and Wild.
Meanwhile, the subscription services market which includes Amazon Prime and Netflix, counts approximately 60 million subscribers across Ireland and the UK. Online data storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox have also seen dramatic growth in subscribers, with approximately 7 million UK and Ireland consumers.
Werewolf Food shares its home with the duo’s existing dog-related businesses in Crossgar, Co. Down – the renowned dog-care facility, Brookvale Boarding, which cares for thousands of dogs a year and Brookvale Detection Dogs, which has built a global reputation breeding and training specialist sniffer dogs used by police & government services locally and internationally as far afield as Singapore and USA.
Co-founder of Werewolf Food and expert dog trainer, Chris Hanlon said: “Werewolf Food was born out of our experiences working with dog lovers and their dogs over the last 20 years. My experience and knowledge in dog training has assured me that nutrition is pivotal to every aspect of a dog’s life – its general health and life expectancy, its obedience and behaviours, its happiness – the list goes on.
“When we set about creating Werewolf Food, we wanted to first of all create a dog food range that responded well to what a dog needs to thrive and enjoy life. Dogs need a well-balanced mix of protein, fat and carbohydrate as well as all the nutrients and micronutrients that we as humans need. Consistency with food is very important for the gut health of dogs too with many dogs experiencing digestive upset when food or feeding patterns changed. Our subscription-model, delivering feed as your dog should need it, means you can keep consistency as you’ll never run out of food.
“Werewolf Food’s entire range, from the feed to the treats, is jam-packed with nutritious and delicious ingredients and we focus on using natural, fresh ingredients rather than artificial cereal fillers which are essentially just empty calories for dogs. Our flavours boast ingredients that we as humans would expect to find in some of our favourite restaurants – fresh chicken, fresh salmon, fresh venison, sweet potato, peas, basil and more.
“In addition, our subscription-based, online shopping model responds to what the consumer wants – convenience. Our model allows our customers to access a quality product at a much lower cost and it means they will never run out of food as our recurring delivery sends the food as you should need it.
“We’re incredibly proud that we have created an honest product high in nutrition and cracked a model that keeps the cost low to support dog lovers to give the best to their canine companions.”
Northern Ireland is the biggest dog-loving nation in the UK with latest reports from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association reporting that 40% of homes here have at least one dog, offering promising market potential for the innovative Co. Down business.
Eager to share its expertise with these 300,000 or so households, Werewolf Food has launched NI’s first podcast dedicated to all things dog, with Chris sharing his expert tips on nutrition, obedience and more. The first episode of Sit Happens! is available to stream on Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud.
Co-founder of Werewolf Food, Bridgeen Hanlon said: “Northern Ireland is an incredibly healthy market for our newest venture as the research shows time and again that we are a nation of dog lovers. Our research shows that the subscription model is also increasing in pet food markets in Great Britain, Ireland and the US so the timing is right too.
“Our Sit Happens! podcast serves as a valuable information point for dog owners to learn from experts and we hope people will get a sense of our values and our passion for dogs when they listen to it. Both Chris and I are huge dog lovers and this will always be at the core of our Werewolf Food’s offering.
“Fundamentally, Werewolf is built with the noble purpose of bringing the most-affordable yet highest-quality dog food to people who their love dogs as much as we do. Doing the very best for your dog, who is an important member of every family, shouldn’t cost the earth.”
For more information on Werewolf Food’s product range and for tips and tricks on caring for your dog, visit werewolffood.com, @werewolffood on social media.