Fresh Fare for Pets

Retailers are rolling out refrigerated cases to accommodate perishable pet foods in Center Store. Freshpet, maker of The Loved Dog refrigerated dog treats, which are slated to hit shelves next month, is providing the cases. More than 2,000 stores operated by around 39 retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Schnuck Markets and Giant Eagle, will merchandise the all-natural chicken- and beef-flavored

Retailers are rolling out refrigerated cases to accommodate perishable pet foods in Center Store.

Freshpet, maker of The Loved Dog refrigerated dog treats, which are slated to hit shelves next month, is providing the cases.

More than 2,000 stores operated by around 39 retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Schnuck Markets and Giant Eagle, will merchandise the all-natural chicken- and beef-flavored treats, according to Scott Morris, co-founder of Freshpet.

“There's a constant battle with Center Store being sleepy, and not having much growth,” he said. “Our refrigerators draw energy, frequency and interest.”

Andrew Gagner, grocery buyer at Central Market, Poulsbo, Wash., is introducing The Loved Dog treats next month. Because refrigerated cases are so unusual in the aisle, it'll really stand out, he said.

Roche Bros., Wellesley Hills, Mass., will also begin carrying the treats. It already carries Freshpet's refrigerated pet meals. These all-natural, 70%-protein meals are packaged under two brand names: Homestyle Select and Deli Fresh. They come in flavors ranging from beef to turkey and vegetables.

“We've seen phenomenal sales, and it's helping bring excitement to this category,” said Jerry Sedrone, director of grocery products development. Roche Bros. positions the refrigerator as an endcap that is adjacent to the natural food section.