It’s summer time here in New York and that means heat, beaches, and Grit Daily events when you can score a ticket. It also means frozen yogurt — and apparently that’s for dogs, too.
Or at least that’s the thinking at Whole Foods, which added Fido-friendly brand, The Bear & the Rat, to its novelty ice cream section. Grit Daily caught up with The Bear & The Rat cofounder, Meg Meyer, for the latest scoop on what the news means for you and your four-legged friend.
Grit Daily: You two have had your own interesting adventures before The Bear & The Rat. Share those.
Meg Meyer: Yes! I was a television producer. I produced Food Network and HGTV shows. Also, I was an Account Manager at a creative ad agency. Matt worked as a sales rep for a national tea brand and a natural distributor, so he spent a lot of time in and out of grocery stores merchandising and selling natural product. So because of our backgrounds, we felt like we might be able to make a go of launching a consumer goods product!
GD: For the uninitiated, you’ve waded into the “pet food” market. What led you to what looks like such a crowded market?
MM: When we launched the company, our dogs were pretty much our kids. And Matt’s family would go to to the scoop shop every week. His family included four kids and their miniature poodle, Babette. Babette would always get a scoop of vanilla and would never tolerate it, so we looked at the market and pretty much only saw ice cream products for dogs that were not good for dogs.
They had long ingredient lists and no benefits. We thought there was room for a functional product that was clean, simple and super fun.
GD: You pitched on Shark Tank back in 2012. Bring us up to speed since then.
MM: It has been a roller coaster! After Shark Tank, we brought on an amazing investor who is our partner. Their family has been instrumental with helping grow the brand. We are now distributed in 3,0000 pet stores and you can find us in stores like Publix, Meijer, and Whole Foods in the frozen novelty (ice cream) sections.
Also, we have launched a new line of products: a ready-to-eat, frozen goat milk yogurt for dogs and cats! It’s exciting because we are the only brand that has an easy Goat Milk product. There’s no thawing or measuring like the others, so it’s very easy. And one cup adds hydration, nutrients and is a complete digestive aid. Also, we are innovating some very exciting product lines now.
GD: Did you ever end up meeting with Barbara Corcoran, who wasn’t on that Shark Tank panel?
MM: We wish! She seems awesome.
MM: We have met Daymond John at a pet trade-show, but have not run into any other sharks since we taped the episode.
GD: What’s behind The Bear & The Rat name?
MM: The Bear is a Lhasa Apso who growls like a bear and The Rat, his brother-from-another-mother, is a Rat Terrier.
GD: Which sales channels work best for your brands?
MM: The pet channel has been great to us, but we are doing very well in the frozen novelties sets because the human is able to pick up everyone’s favorite frozen treat at the same time.