Metal scooper with pet food spilling out in front of a metal bowl of pet food.

Private Label Retail: 4 Essential Ways Pet Food Manufacturers Help

Pet food manufacturers offer critical product, packaging and compliance expertise to help retailers bring their private label brand to market. In this blog, we review how each one of these technical aspects can help.

Once you are clear on the benefits of private label and have an idea of what you want to create, how do you actually make it happen? There is a lot that goes into pet food manufacturing, especially for retailers launching their very first private label pet food brand. The clearest path to success is finding a pet food manufacturer who can guide you through the process.

What is a Pet Food Manufacturer?

A pet food manufacturer is responsible for the production of your product – but also much more than that. A good manufacturer is a true partner, helping you execute ideas or nail down the details of a pet food product that works for your business.

From R&D and packaging design to production trials, compliance and distribution, the pet food manufacturer wears multiple functionary hats.

Here are four of the biggest ways they can help—before you even get to production.

4 Ways Pet Food Manufacturers Help Build Private Label Brands

#1. Determine Product Details

You might already have most of these details figured out. But if not, your pet food manufacturer can collaborate with you on these questions.

  • Product type

What do you want to deliver to the marketplace?

From extruded kibble and baked treats to baked kibble and canned pet food, there are endless options.

  • Product tier

Where do you want your product to fit in the marketplace? Value, mainstream, premium, super premium?

The answer depends on what your customers care about, from price to quality to exotic ingredients.

  • Volume

How much do you want to make?

  • Formula

What ingredients do you want to use and how do you want them to be formulated? This decision depends on the capabilities of your pet food manufacturer.

Many co-manufacturers offer in-house turnkey formulas to accommodate each product tier and meet the needs of a variety of customer segments. But you can also go the custom route. Bring your ideas forward and work with your manufacturer’s team and vetted supply partners to make them a reality.

#2. Select Bag Size

The type of product you’re bringing to market, the shape and size of your formula, and the density and volume of your pet food all impact what kind of packaging you need.

Once the density of the product has been determined, your manufacturing partner will know how much product should go into each bag depending on its size. Often, your manufacturer will provide recommendations on bag size based on the brands you are trying to compete with.

For example, it may be beneficial to place your similarly proportioned but lower-priced 3-lb. bag of kibble next to a competitor’s more expensive 5-pounder. An experienced supplier will have the market insights required to talk through these scenarios and come up with the best packaging dimensions for your offering.

#3. Stay Compliant

A pet food manufacturer can also help you stay compliant. Most states follow AAFCO model regulations for writing clear pet food labels, but there are nuances that a good manufacturer will know how to address.

Your pet food manufacturer already knows the ins and outs of your formula, as well as the ins and outs of pet food labeling, which means they can serve as a regulatory check during the production and design of your bag.

#4. Ensure Quality & Safety

Your manufacturer produces your pet food, which means they are responsible for the quality and safety of the end product. This is a crucial role and cannot be taken lightly. A quality manufacturer is the difference between success in the pet food aisle or product recalls.

Pet food recalls can be avoided by selecting a pet food manufacturer that prioritizes safety, follows strict testing protocols and takes absolutely no shortcuts.

How to Select a Pet Food Manufacturer

A good pet food manufacturer is paramount to the success of your new pet food brand. But how do you find the right one?

Start by looking for these capabilities:

  • SQF-certified facilities, food safety standards and quality assurance
  • Deep industry expertise and market insights
  • Active and engaged R&D team members
  • A wide range of ingredient capabilities from audited, trustworthy sources
  • Strategically located, nationwide facilities


From the size, shape and quality of your kibble to the claims made on your packaging, your pet food manufacturer’s expertise matters. Choose a partner who offers the reliability, stability and experience needed to generate a product that can deliver on your brand promise.

Alphia helps private label brands develop market-leading pet food from concept to distribution. Let us know about your pet food needs.