Picture: Darcy Bomford, together with his dogs Sophie and Molly, inspecting freshly arrived hemp for production trial runs
Less than a month after True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. announced to have retained a US logistics and distribution center to meet the expected demand for hemp-based pet products in the US, the company today announced to have secured 2 Canadian coast-to-coast distribution companies. The company’s Trueleafpet™ Hemp Chew product line is scheduled to be launched across North America this fall. Production trial runs have commenced in July.
Last week, Rockstone conducted an interview with True Leaf’s CEO, Darcy Bomford, who said:
“We are focusing on traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ distribution that incorporates stocking distributors that ship and sell products to specialty pet retailers. Online and e-commerce sales will certainly be part of our strategy to build the brand, but we will be focusing our marketing on multipacks that are not available to our dealers. We expect our full ecommerce site to be operational by late fall 2015.“
Having secured 2 Canadian distribution companies, specialized on pet products, demonstrates the know-how and market insight of Darcy Bomford, who has 30 years of experience in the pet foods market by having run successfully his own pet foods production company, Darford Treats, which was reviewed by Homes Alive as follows:
“The Darford dog treats company started with a concerned pet owner. Unable to find dog treats made of quality ingredients without artificial preservatives and additives, founder Darcy Bomford started making his own natural treats. From a small Canadian business, Darford grew to sell many types of healthy dog treats all over the world. The company expanded to include food as well as items for dog owners.”
One of the new Canadian distributors is Freedom Pet Supplies Inc. The private company was established in September 2001 by John and Kelly Ayres, and focuses on selling quality pet products to independent pet product dealers and major pet-specialty retail chains from Ontario to Newfoundland. Freedom Pet Supplies is known for its superior customer service and close-knit company culture and has grown to over 91 employees at its Cambridge, Ontario location. John Ayres, said:
“Kelly and I are excited about True Leafs new hemp-based product line and look forward to the launch.The innovative product range looks fantastic and provides a unique selling proposition in a fast-growing segment of our business. We expect the line to be in demand and well received by our customers”.
Freedom Pet Supplies has agreed to service Ontario to Prince Edward Island, while True Leaf’s other new Canadian distributor, Anipet Animal Supplies Inc., will cover the Western Provinces. Both companies cover the entire Canadian pet specialty marketplace, servicing over 2800 stores between them.
Anipet Animal Supplies Inc., founded in 1976, services independent stores and pet specialty chains across Western Canada and is a major distributor of the top selling pet products in North-America. Anipet supplies a full range of products from warehouse locations in Vancouver and Calgary, offering overnight delivery to over 1,000 stores from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Anipet’s CEO, Troy Firth, said:
“I expect True Leaf’s product line to carve a lucrative niche in one of our fastest growing categories: functional treats. Their packaging and formulations are truly unique and should attract significant interest and market share within our customer base”.
As per today’s press release, Darcy said:
“I’m so pleased to have the resources and great people of Freedom and Anipet behind our product line. Both companies sell North America’s most successful pet brands and cover 100% of the independent retailers and pet-specialty chains in Canada. I’ve known the people behind both companies for years and couldn’t be happier with our new partners to help grow our business.”
Today’s achieved milestones align with True Leaf’s “Quality of Life” value proposition as it has made a strategic decision to enter the $60 billion pet industry with a line of hemp-focused pet products. Initially, True Leaf will market functional chews through direct, pet, natural health and veterinary channels in Canada and the US.
On July 16, 2015, True Leaf announced to have secured CenterPoint Warehousing in Kansas City, Missouri/USA, as the company’s exclusive order fulfillment and distribution center. CenterPoint is a full service provider of warehousing, logistics, order-fulfillment and distribution services, serving the pet products industry for over 15 years. The company occupies just over 350,000 sq. ft. in an underground USDA and FDA inspected warehouse facility that is certified food grade and meets all industry standards. Joe Fitzgerald, CenterPoint’s CEO, said:
”The True Leaf team has a keen eye for up-and-coming niche areas in the natural pet product market. We look forward to working with them to ensure they can service their customers efficiently and achieve success in this market.”
In the interview with Rockstone, Darcy was asked about how his “hemp for pets” story was received at the major cannabis conferences and exhibitions, which he attended over the last months:
“We were blown away by the response at the exhibitions, it was fantastic to see such a reaction from everyone who came by our booth. “What a great idea” and “This totally makes sense!” were common reactions and it was great to see such validation from our peers. There is some competition on the market now (and more to come, I’m sure), but I have yet to see anybody that has put together a product line that is professionaly designed, priced and positioned to be a success in this market. I think our experience is key and should give us a first-mover advantage to build a prominent brand in this space…”
Darcy gave further market insights:
“Many people are surprised about the size of the pet industry when they really stop to notice it. Have a look in your supermarket the next time you are there and see how much space is devoted to pet products, you will be amazed. The pet industry in the US alone, almost tripled in size to over $60 billion in sales since 1996. Valuations on companies in this space are very lucrative, with recent acquistions reflecting over 3X sales multiples as young innovative companies are purchased by multinationals and private equity firms. The functional food and natural health market are seeing even higher valuations (over 5x sales) as consumers seek out novel ingredients for themselves and their pets. Our goal is to reach $30m in sales in 5 years and a valuation target of $100 million that is based on our target margins, brand strength and ability to diversify into medical cannabis extractions upon license approval for Canadian medical marijuana production.”
True Leaf’s unique selling point is high-quality hemp-based pet supplements, as Darcy explained during the interview:
“Anyone who knows the pet food industry will understand that “it’s all about the ingredients” and Hemp is something that we saw as a potential novel ingredient years ago. Hemp has amazing characteritistics, but this member of the cannabis family has been largely ignored because of it’s ‘naughty cousin’: Marijuana. Hemp is entirely non-psychoactive but is known to have anti-inflammatory benefits, plus naturally-occuring antioxidants, cannabidiol and the optimal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. We are creating a product line that incorporates hemp with other proven active ingredients that will be sold as functional chews....kind of like ‘turbo-charged’ treats that support good health. Our goal is to market a full range of products that provide, antioxidant, joint and calming support that are legal for sale in pet stores across North America and ultimately Europe as well.”
Research #5 “Interview with True Leaf‘s CEO Darcy Bomford“ (August 6, 2015)
Research #4 “One Step Closer Becoming A Licenced Medical Marijuana Producer“ (July 21, 2015)
Research #3 “True Leaf on its way to production“ (May 6, 2015)
Research #2 “True Leaf To Enter The Pet Food Market With Hemp Products In Fall of 2015“ (April 9, 2015)
Research #1 “True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. Goes Public“ (February 9, 2015)
Please read the full disclaimer here or within the above mentioned full research reports (PDF) as conflicts of interest exist.