A lot can happen in a year and that is certainly the case for Stewart Irvine, Co-founder and partner David Judd of Wild Ocean Omega3 Fish Snacks Ltd., trading as WOOFS.
Since starting the business in July 2017 and officially launching in February 2018, the firm has now firmly established itself in the pet treat market, with its ethically sourced range of fish-based snacks. Both Stewart and David are based at the firm’s headquarters in Surrey but the treats are manufactured in the UK at their plant in Cornwall and at their other facility in Estonia. Woofs is now set to launch further new products in the dog snack range later this year and is developing fish-based pet food recipes, working alongside leading pet nutritionist, Moddie Lambert.
WOOFS is one of the only few UK pet food companies to hold the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certificate, which means that all the fish that goes into the manufacture of the treats is from fully traceable and sustainable sources and that the WOOFS’ fishery has been independently assessed on its specific impacts to wild fish populations and the ecosystems surrounding the areas where the fish are caught. The treats are packed full Omega 3 and have many health benefits for dogs. In addition, WOOFS accesses all of the raw material used in its manufacturing bases, ensuring that the best quality fish is utilised in all of its current and future products.
Stewart explains the inspiration behind the business,
“About a year ago a friend of mine came for lunch and brought her dog Chewie. She was given fish skin (s) as a snack. I was aware that fish was being used in a number of dog food products but I hadn’t understood it was SO popular.
Having spent many years in the fishing industry buying and selling fish for human consumption all around the world including the USA, Canada, Sweden, Russia and Japan, I was looking for a change of direction and I started investigating what types of fish and ways of manufacture, were being used in the dog food industry. From my initial research, it was clear there was a lot of mislabelling, the narratives were ambiguous at best, wonderful words such as sustainable were being misused and very little information was given about the place and method of manufacture. Coming from the human side of the fish business, I envisaged that the pet industry will go the same way, with regard to labelling, so together with a business partner, we formed Wild Ocean Omega3 Fish Snacks Ltd., to trade under the anachronym WOOFS. We decided to be the first in the industry to provide the consumer with full traceability and provenance. We agreed that we would, whenever possible, manufacture MSC accredited products in a plant in the UK, to give consumers complete peace of mind, as to where the goods come from. When it wasn’t possible, we’d work together with our partners to have their facilities MSC accredited.
After we have established our fish based treats and snacks, we intend to expand the treat portfolio to 8-10 products and then start manufacturing wet food in cans and/or pouches. We are also looking at the fast growing raw food sector of the pet food market in which Moddie Lambert, our pet food nutritionist has a particular expertise. Moddie has been heavily involved in developing recipes with tripe as the base. Tripe has well documented qualities with plenty of enzymes, good bacteria and nutrients. Fish will be the main ingredient (s) given WOOFS expertise in procuring first class products. The company is already speaking to potential manufacturers and distributors in Russia and Hong Kong/China.”
The company wants to bring top quality fish products to the attention of the discerning dog owners. Fish has all the natural ingredients/properties to enhance a dog’s health. Woofs’ Cod Fish Fingers and Cod Cubes are made from 100% cod skins. Packed full of Omega 3, an essential fatty acid that must be supplied in the diet because it cannot be created by the body, these tasty treats help support healthy vision, joint mobility and can help heal sore, flaky, damaged or itchy skin . The brittle nature and rough texture of the fish skin, is also great for reducing tartar and plaque, which creates healthier teeth, gums and a fresher breath. Fish is a great, easily digestible protein source for dogs and is ideal as a snack for overweight dogs who are trying to lose weight or dogs with allergies or intolerances. It also makes an excellent dog training treat so it is ideal for use in the show or agility ring and can also be used to train gun and working dog breeds.
Other products in the range include Cod Cookies which are made from 85% cod and 15% potato as well as Dried Sprats which like all the other products in the Woofs range are 100% natural and Hypoallergenic. Woofs’ products are great for dog owners who feed raw as they are a perfect complement to the diet.
The WOOFS’ range is perfect for retailers to stock. It fully complements the raw food diet as the treats are 100% natural and low in fat. They can also be used as a topper, to enhance the nutritional quality of cheaper diets, as in the new Granola product that has just been launched, which can be sprinkled on top of wet, raw and dry diets.
The WOOFS’ range has been veterinary approved, and the firm works alongside vet Imogen Moore, who acts as an additional adviser to their customers. She has appeared on Channel 4 with Alan Davies. Imogen is currently working as a Veterinary surgeon at the RSPCA Harmsworth Hospital.
Woofs is rapidly expanding its retail base having already secured a number of stockists and will shortly be listed on the Ocado online shopping site.