Gourmet pet food entrepreneur Brett Gibson, who recognized 13 years ago the marketing potential of thousands of pounds of salmon scraps, has added grain-free salmon treats to his canine offerings, complete with fruits and vegetables.
Offerings include Yummy Chummies salmon with cranberries and blueberries, salmon with sweet potato, salmon with carrots, kelp and spinach and the very popular Yummy Chummies Gold, complete with a dash of rosemary extract.
“I think it (grain-free) will be a hot item,” said Gibson, whose Anchorage firm also produces a supply of salmon and cod protein for pet food manufacturers, and salmon oil products. November, December and January are the highest demand period for the gourmet treats.
The fact that they are made in the USA is also a huge selling point, he said.
Yummy Chummies Original soft and chewy salmon treats, meanwhile, continue to grow in popularity, offering nutritious wild Alaska salmon and its omega-3 oils for canines, and an outlet for fish processors who need to dispose of the rest of the fish after filleting or roe stripping.
The pet treats are available nationwide, from retail giants like Costco and Wal-Mart to online companies who tell potential customers “A million dogs can’t be wrong. Yummy Chummies are the premiere gourmet dog treat.”
While market demand keeps on growing, Gibson said he’s continuing to fight the higher cost of doing business in Alaska, from his calculations nearly twice the cost he would face if his business were based in the Pacific Northwest.
While Arctic Paws keeps a good inventory of product ingredients on hand, an unexpected order recently forced the company to pay $3,600 to have two ingredients trucked north over the Alaska Highway, four times the cost of bringing it up on a barge.
Gibson said he would like to see more effort on the state’s part to reduce the cost of manufacturing in Alaska, to back up their claims that they want to see more value added manufacturing, with creative ways to reduce the cost of shipping to Alaska ingredients needed to manufacture his products and the cost of shipping out the finished products too.