Your Wisconsin: Vital Essentials raw pet food

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - A Green Bay company is gaining international fame for their pet food.

They are getting attention for what is not in the recipe. "We are one of those well kept secrets in town. Not many people know that we are a pet food company, actually an international pet food company" says Lanny Viegut, Owner of Vital Essentials.

The company employs nearly 60 people at its Green Bay production facility. "It is the best product that you can buy out there. There is nothing else that compares to the food that we make here" says Brett Simmons, Plant Manager for the company.

They are making raw pet food that is either freeze dried or frozen to preserve its freshness.

"The framework essentially goes back to what we call an alpha prey model diet. If you take a wolf or a fox in their natural habitat, they would seek out prey and eat it and eat all of it"  Viegut explains.

Reading the labels you will not find any grains or fillers. It is just meat.  According to Laura Ritchie, Social Media Coordinator for Vital Essentials "We have the basics which are beef, turkey, duck, chicken and then we have some exotics like wild boar, rabbit, fish".

The company started in 1969, but the original owner ran into challenges convincing consumers. "He was way ahead of his time. People did not look at packages and nutritional labels the way they do today" Viegut says.

In 2008 the founder ran out of funds and Viegut joined the company, with a brand strategy and marketing plan. "We have experienced rapid growth" Viegut says. "Our business has grown nearly 50 percent year over year"

Part of the success is due to a very serious team of taste testers. "On any given day we will have 6 or 8 dogs in our office and up to three cats" Viegut explains. "The dogs and cats are our taste testers so when we come up with a new product idea they are the first to give us two paws up or two paws down"

Ritchie says her cat loves the products. "Within the first 24 hours of me bringing a sample home, it was stolen out of my purse. My cat had ripped open the bag and eaten everything, so I knew there was something special about this product" she says.

And while the Vital Essentials team is proud of what goes into their product, pet owners also notice a big change in what comes out on the lawn. "There is at least 50 percent less to pick up" Viegut says.

Vital essentials can be found in more than 3500 independent pet specialty stores across the country. For a store locator click here: http://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/


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