Features June 2016 Issue

Miscellaneous Facts about Nature's Variety

1. Nature’s Variety had revenue in 2015 of $126.7 million.

2. The company has two production facilities in Lincoln and three warehouse facilities, including frozen. In 2008, Catterton, an international private equity firm, invested in Nature’s Variety and CEO Reed Howlett came on board. In 2009, the company headquarters was moved from Nebraska to St. Louis, though manufacturing and warehouse operations remain in Lincoln.

3. Early on, NV formed an in-house “Nutrition Council” of experts within the company who meet to improve old products and develop new products. In 2011, Nature’s Variety added two outside members to that group, both of whom are well respected holistic veterinarians: Susan Wynn, DVM, CVA, CVCH, RH (AHG), of Georgia Veterinary Specialists, Atlanta, Georgia; and Lea Stogdale, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM Holistic and Integrative Medicine and Care, of Aesops Veterinary Care in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Council meets a minimum of three times per year.

4. The NV foods are formulated with input from the Nutrition Council by Susy Tejayadi, Ph.D., Food Science; Ricardo Moura, Ph.D., Grain Science and Industry; and Jason Meents, B.Sc., Animal Science.

5. For years, Nature’s Variety had engaged in a number of smaller philanthropic and volunteer initiatives that supported its corporate mission, “empowering people to transform the lives of pets.” A number of these involved donations to or volunteer work at facilities that took care of homeless pets.

6. In 2014, the company began evaluating potential partners for a formal, nationwide program that focused on furthering the no-kill movement. NV initially reached out to Best Friends in the summer of 2014. After realizing the match between their organizational philosophies and cultures, NV began formally developing a partnership with Best Friends, culminating in Nature’s Variety Instinct being named Best Friends’ Official Pet Food Partner of 2015. In 2016 NV continued as Official Pet Food Partner and expanded the relationship to also provide food and treats for Best Friends’ NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles) Pet Adoption Center and Spay/Neuter Center, both in Los Angeles; and Best Friends Adoption Center and its Spay/Neuter Clinics in Salt Lake City, part of NKUT (No-Kill Utah). And when it opens later this year, Instinct will also feed the dogs and cats at Best Friends’ new adoption center in New York City.

7. NV uses a “test and hold” program, and doesn’t release foods for sale until test results have indicated that each batch is free of Salmonella and other pathogens. And yet, in mid-2015, one of NV’s products was recalled for Salmonella. What happened? A company spokesperson answered, “The recalled lot was produced in our older facility, where we manufactured both pre- and post-HPP diets. In May of 2015, we entered a new, state-of-the-art facility to form our products post-HPP. It is possible that a cross contamination from pre-HPP product to post-HPP product occurred in the recalled lot. However, with the new facility our pre- and post-HPP products are segregated into separate buildings, providing an added assurance that potential cross-contamination cannot occur again. As a result of the recall, we have increased our sampling plan to be even more robust, strengthening our testing.

8. “As we understand more of the capability of HPP and the characteristics unique to Nature’s Variety raw materials and finished goods, we continue to challenge the current available research with new university-driven studies. The goal of these studies is finding ways to continue to use proven and possibly new technologies to provide the safest, highest quality raw diets in the industry.”

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