A dog-food startup that says it makes meals good enough for humans just raised $39 million

The Farmer’s DogPlans start at $US18 per week for 14 meals.
  • The Farmer’s Dog, a dog-food startup that sends freshly made meals to dog owners’ doors, announced Tuesday it had raised $US39 million in funding.
  • The company is cashing in on a shift in millennials buying more premium brands for their pets.
  • Legacy pet-food brands such as Mars’ Pedigree, Nestle’s Purina, and Smucker’s Gravy Train and Kibbles ‘n Bits have all seen sales sag recently.

A dog-food startup that claims to make meals good enough for humans just raised millions of dollars in funding, proving that millennials really do want to treat their pets like their firstborn child.

The Farmer’s Dog, a subscription service that sends freshly made meals directly to dog owner’s doors, announced Tuesday that it raised $US39 million in a round of funding led by Insight Venture Partners, bringing its total funding to $US49 million.

The company offers meals that are customised for each dog based on its profile, which includes age, breed, size, activity level, and food sensitivities.

“This is a fundamental shift in a massive, yet very antiquated industry, that hasn’t leveraged technology to drive innovation. We are excited to partner with The Farmer’s Dog team on their journey to reimagine how we feed and care for the hundreds of millions of pets around the world,” Harley Miller, principal at Insight Venture Partners, said in a statement to the press on Tuesday.

In November, The Wall Street Journal reported that millennials are increasingly buying more expensive and higher-quality food for their pets. As a result, legacy pet-food brands such as Mars’ Pedigree, Nestle’s Purina, and Smucker’s Gravy Train and Kibbles ‘n Bits have all seen sales sag.

Read more:
Millennials are treating pets like ‘their firstborn child,’ and it’s reportedly causing problems for some of the best-known pet food brands

Millennials who are waiting longer to get married, buy a house, or have children are instead choosing to become pet owners.

“They treat them like it was their firstborn child,” Beverley Petrunich, owner of DoGone Fun, a dog-daycare center in Chicago, told The Journal.

As a result, a flurry of new brands selling more premium food and “human-grade” snacks have entered the market.

According to its website, The Farmer’s Dog meals are put together by veterinary nutritionists using human-grade ingredients. The meals are cooked in human-grade kitchens and frozen before being sent to customers.

“Since we package your meals perfectly to your dog’s needs, your food never sits on a shelf for months at a time, and you don’t have to trust packaging that can fail and produce mould,” it says online.

The meal plans start at $US18 per week for 14 meals and cost more depending on the size of the dog and the frequency of the order.

The Farmer’s Dog said it will use the funding to invest in its supply chain.

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