Innovative Moy firm gives Dutch dogs an energy boost

Pow Wow, a new rehydration drink for dogs developed by Moy-based J.a.m. Pet Foods, is proving popular with pet owners in the Netherlands as a result of the company’s participation in Invest Northern Ireland’s unique ‘Going Dutch’ export marketing programme.

The company secured its first export business from the programme organised by Invest NI with support from Northern Ireland Trade Consultants (NITC) in Amsterdam. It is now supplying the flavoured, isotonic drink to a network of independent pet shops and a major pet wholesale operation in the Netherlands.  Following its success in the Netherlands the company has won a substantial contract to supply the drink to Japan. Enquiries, in addition, have recently been received from one of the biggest pet stores in Belgium.

Also this year, Pow Wow was launched in all Pets at Home stores across the UK and Northern Ireland.

J.a.m Pet Foods manager Anthony Mackle, commenting on the breakthrough in exporting to the Netherlands, said: “The practical support and direction we received from NITC was invaluable. They helped us target the main distribution channels and seek out those companies with the best potential for selling Pow Wow.

“They introduced both our company and product to these buyers before setting up the meetings which led to confirmed orders. The reaction from the buyers was excellent, as they understood the product and its importance.

“Pow Wow is specially formulated to offer the dog a delicious chicken flavoured drink, while replacing the essential salts and minerals that are lost through sweat and panting. A lot of dogs don’t drink enough water due to impurities such as chlorides which taste and smell bad. Good hydration is vital during warm weather and exercise.  Pow Wow is the solution dog owners have been looking for.

“We’ve spent over three years working on the formula for Pow Wow, testing different flavours to find one that would be highly palatable to even the fussiest of dogs. The formula had to be isotonic specific to a dog’s body, matching its sodium and mineral levels. We now have further plans to launch some limited edition flavours such as duck, lamb and salmon.

“Confidence gained from the ‘Going Dutch’ programme has encouraged us to explore other markets worldwide. We already sell around 90 per cent of the product outside Northern Ireland, mostly in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. So, the prospects are really exciting for us,” he added.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, praising the company’s focus on exports, said: “Our Going Dutch programme is geared towards helping smaller companies in particular to explore and win first time business in an easily accessible market which has a very close relationship with the UK.

“It’s a structured programme with an important training aspect which assists participants to improve their knowledge, confidence and overall capability, thereby encouraging them to look closely at other markets which they can evaluate by taking part in our comprehensive trade mission and exhibitions programme.

“Another aspect of the Going Dutch programme is the support on the ground from NITC which ranges from market research and travel arrangements to translation support at meetings and for marketing materials,” he added.

Pow Wow was launched by the company last year at pet shows including the Dublin Dog Show. The product was also introduced at Crufts earlier this year. Customers include Wilson’s pet shops and Kennelgate in the United Kingdom.