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Starting a Pet Food Business

September 19, 2022 Angie Hohensee

Before you start a pet food business read this!

Starting a pet food business can be done but it isn’t necessarily easy. I was lucky enough to find the right people to get me there.

Understand, first and foremost, that there will be tons of ups and downs and everything in between. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family to see what they think of your idea before jumping in headfirst.

I came up with the idea for Pet Pasta in the summer of 2020 but really didn’t act on it until the fall of 2021. In the interim, I asked everyone I knew what they thought. Luckily, I got lots of “that is a great idea!” so the enthusiasm kept me going. I also wanted to make sure that I understood:

  1. where my product would fit in the market
  2. if it was filling a need
  3. if it was unique enough to get noticed.

Turns out, Pet Pasta met all those requirements but that was only the FIRST step!

So…if you think you have a great idea for a new pet food, treat or supplement and want to get it to market these 13 tips may help.

  1. Believe in your idea but do your research to see if there are competitors.
  2. Visit the AAFCO website, a true clearinghouse for all things pet food, and educate yourself on as much as you can.
  3. Go out and buy your domain name. It is inexpensive and a great start.
    • I purchased petpasta.com and similar sounding domain names as soon as I came up with the idea. Don’t wait because the great name you came up with may either be taken (you will have to come up with a new name) or will soon be taken if you don’t grab it.
  4. Start iterating on a tagline and logo.
  5. Set up an LLC.
    • Find an attorney that is familiar with limited liability companies (LLC) and get the paperwork completed.
    Learn about state and local regulations for selling pet food.
    • Even if you start selling at farmer’s markets you still need to be registered. I registered right away with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture so that I could sell in local stores and at farmer’s markets.
  6. Start building your website.
    • I used GoDaddy to build petpasta.com but you can also use Wix, Squarespace, or others that have templates that are easy to follow.
  7. Labeling: Look at packaging options, follow AAFCO, and get experts like BSM Partners.
    • Find something unique to distinguish your brand. I wanted to mimic the look and feel of a fancy pasta bag.
  8. Before you start selling, make sure you are insured.
    • Contact your local insurance agent to see if they carry the right coverage.
  9. Look for state grants or other funding sources.
    • Some states have prototype grants through their Department of Economic Development.
  10. Attend local pet shows or pet conferences to get an idea of how you want to market your product.
    • I attended some local shows and SuperZoo and was blown away at the number of products available.
  11. Start small but work to perfect your formula
    • Test your product on your own pets for palatability and digestibility.
  12. Surround yourself with experts like BSM Partners!!
    • I knew we needed expert nutritionists, so we reached out to BSM Partners. We selected BSM Partners because of their extensive work with hundreds of clients ranging from the largest companies to the smallest startup companies. Now BSM Partners has become like family. From research, consulting, innovation, and strategy-to-shelf, BSM Partners truly is full-service pet care. All the way.  

Now go seize the day!!!

About the Author: Angie Hohensee is the CEO and Founder of Pet Pasta, the first nutrient-rich pet pasta to help make homemade diets complete and balanced for dogs.


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