Moy firm baking up a Christmas treat for dogs

Dog owners are now able to share the Turkey and Cranberry flavour of Christmas with their pets, thanks to an innovative product developed by a Moy company with Invest Northern Ireland’s support.

The Pet Bakery has created a premium Turkey and Cranberry flavoured dog biscuit among its  range of doggie treats that also includes biscuits with distinctive flavours such as Cheese Paws, Sunday Roast Bones (with beef and veg), Chicken Bones and Apple and Cinnamon Bones (dipped in yoghurt).

The Pet Bakery is already attracting attention from top European retailers for its distinctive biscuits. The company, which employs five people at Charlemont Industrial Estate in Moy, uses top quality ingredients such as flour, beef and chicken from local suppliers in baking the up-market biscuits.

Taking the lead in the business is a husband and wife team, Bernard and Roisin Mackle, who have developed the original recipes and the company’s attractive branding and packaging.

“The biscuits are based on an idea sparked by a trip to the US where pet owners have been demanding dog meals and treats on a par with food they buy for themselves,” says Bernard Mackle. “There’s now a similar trend developing in Europe, and we decided it presented us with an opportunity to set up a small manufacturing business here,” he adds.

The company test marketed the initial products at a series of dog events in Great Britain, including Crufts, and found a ready market. It is now the only manufacturer of premium dog biscuits in Ireland.

“Feedback from dog owners has been immensely encouraging. This has helped us in approaching retailers and pet shop owners. As a result, the biscuits are now on sale in over 600 outlets across the UK and Ireland including Tesco UK and Pets at Home. In addition, we’ve had approaches from pet stores in Europe to supply the biscuits.

“While the Chicken Bones biscuit is our top selling product we expect the Turkey and Cranberry product to be extremely popular over the Christmas period. We developed this product following requests from existing customers,” he adds.

Invest NI’s Food Division has helped the company to develop its approach to the market and its relationships with retailers.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food, says: “This is an enterprising small business which has spotted a market opportunity and moved quickly to exploit it. The company is operating in a very dynamic sector with expanding opportunities and has sought to differentiate itself in a very competitive market niche by focusing on premium quality in its products, branding and packaging.  Currently dog owners in the US spend on average $40 billion on their pets. Research shows that European dog owners are following this US trend of huge expenditure on innovative products.”