Hill’s Science Diet feeling the change

Hill’s Science Diet petfood brand losing market share as consumers look to smaller petfood brands for more natural options is the title of an article from PetFoodIndustry.com

From the article –

In an effort to compete, Hill’s introduced the Science Diet Nature’s Best line, which included ingredients like lamb, brewers rice, soybean meal and apples. But, “the consumer had a disconnect with this idea of Science Diet and a naturals product,” said Ian Cook, Colgate CEO.

I wonder why? Is it because that Science Diet has ruined it’s reputation a long time ago with the holistic community and now the main stream pet owners are seeing the advantages of feeding their dogs a food based in similar fresh ingredients that they themselves would eat?

Or could it be that they have stagnated while the rest of the industry has changed with the consumer ideals? –

Hill’s launches new Ideal Balance natural petfood brand – New line of dog and cat food is first new petfood brand from Hill’s since 1968 – Is it better late than never or a little too late?

Interestingly, even though they are late to the party and have a large number of foods to model to try to reclaim market share they have still may have missed the mark on this new food. It only received 3 out of 5 stars from Dog Food Advisor, an independently owned website – Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free Dog Food (Dry) Although the food is acceptable and is better than their previous products it is still a dog food that your dog can survive on rather than thrive. As consumers we are looking for the best quality ingredients and a dog food that allows our dogs to be their best, to live optimally.

Dr Becker has a few comments about Hill’s decline in her article –
Buyers “Bust” This Pet Food Company – Should You Too?

She summarizes how to maintain a healthy pet extremely well –

While pet product companies and marketers try to find ever more unique and creative ways to lure you, their human consumer, your carnivorous cat or dog maintains the same basic requirement for whole, fresh, unprocessed food as her wild ancestors. In fact, your pet’s health, vitality and quality of life have little to do with how many nifty new pet products you purchase.

In addition to the right diet, your pet’s other most basic needs include:

Plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation
Minimal exposure to toxins including vaccines, veterinary drugs, and pest preventives
Regular (preferably twice yearly) wellness exams with an integrative or holistic vet
Routine at-home dental care, bathing and grooming
When it comes to caring for your dog or cat, it’s not about finding the latest new invention in pet food or products … it’s about providing your furry companion with a simple, natural diet and lifestyle that creates abundant health and a long life.

What is your opinion? Is Hill’s changing your mind about their pet food? Or have you always fed Hill’s because it has been good food for your dog?

  • http://twitter.com/MySlimDoggy SlimDoggy

    There are an increasing number of brands that are creating products with more real food and less artificial and processed food ingredients. Sort of like a Paleo approach to dog food, if you will. HSD has been behind this curve. The iDeal Balance product is a step in the right direction but it remains to be seen if HSD will reclaim lost market share.

    Maybe part of their problem is that they still have too many recipes with either Corn as the 1st or 2nd ingredient or recipes with by-products and unnamed protein or fat sources (e.g. poultry or animal).

    • http://evetclinic.com/ Daniel Beatty

      I agree, it is definitely a step in the right direction although it seems like it is a forced step they had to take.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DawgBlogger Jana Rade

    Every time I look at the actual ingredients of any of the Hill’s products I just thing “what the heck is so special about this?”

    One thing I would give them is that I believe they have some pretty good nutritionists on the staff. I also believe that those nutritionists have their hands tied and very little wiggle room available.

    The reason I say that is that as part of my nutrition course homework I was reviewing liver and kidney prescription diets. It is my opinion that Hill’s did indeed try to put in the things that would be beneficial and I would consider Hill’s liver and kidney prescription diets superior to those of say Purina or Royal Canin.

    That said, I think the wiggle room they do have isn’t significant enough to make sufficient difference. I think they spend too much money and effort proving that dogs can survive on whatever ingredients the management wants them to use.

    I think that adapting to the general trend is nice, what I’m missing is the true concern about the dogs themselves. It’s just a marketing strategy, that’s not really good enough for me. Though I’m sure the nutritionists in the staff might be much happier about this trend.

    In closing? Jasmine gave Hill’s clear thumbs down. It would take more than marketing tricks to change my mind about that.

  • Kimberly Morris Gauthier

    I had an opportunity to speak with the people of Hill’s at BlogPaws and although I was impressed, I wasn’t impressed enough. Sadly, too many people have an opinion of Science Diet that isn’t great and today I just don’t have time to spend on brands that don’t seem to understand that the human-animal bond equates to us wanting better quality foods; not just more expensive foods.

    Changing your packaging to include pictures of veggies and raw meat doesn’t make me think that this translates to what’s inside the package. Too many pet food companies have made poor choices that make me question everyone’s motives when they make a change.

    It’ll be interested to see if brands like Hills, Merrick, and others can overcome their reputation and provide a better quality option for pet owners.