When our customers offer constructive criticism, we take it very seriously. Evermore feeders tend to be environmentally conscientious, so packaging has been a recurring theme in our inbox. Here’s one recent example:
What do you think of the idea of eliminating all the small cardboard boxes inside which is one packet of your wonderful food? I realize there may be regulations around this, but I unpacked 16 packets of food, and recycled 16 small cardboard boxes when one would have sufficed, in terms of all the info on the cardboard box. OR, you could include a sheet of paper with all that info. It seems really wasteful. Just wondering.
To be honest, there is a small part of us that gets defensive when we read emails like this, but not because we don’t agree with her. Criticism like this forces us to acknowledge our limitations as two individuals running an entire company by ourselves. We began in 2009 as a fully retail brand, and the boxes we use were originally created to sell individual units in a store setting. Over the past three years, we have completely pivoted to being a primarily online, direct-to-consumer business
—this shift was a matter of survival for us [learn more about what made us leave distribution here]. That said, we still work with select retailers in the NY Metro area and Northern CA who sell quite a bit of our products.
In terms of food slated for online sale, there are a few technical and operational concerns we will need to overcome to phase out the inner boxes:
1. Plain pouches in a box will freeze together. We know this reliably from test batches.
2. Master cases of 8 are broken up and reconfigured all the time to make up samplers and mixed cases. Without identifying unit packaging, this could cause a lot of confusion with our fulfillment partners, and our customers would have a hard time telling things apart.
3. The additional cardboard does the valuable job of providing additional insulation, which is important for customers in hot/far afield locales.
We do not believe that these considerations are insurmountable, but the solution isn't necessarily obvious or straightforward either. We are definitely open to suggestions.
Back to those limitations: A much more well-funded company would be able to solve this faster by throwing money and people at the problem. Since we’re just two very hard-working individuals (neither of whom has a trust fund, which would have run out by now anyway), we have to prioritize where to put our energy and resources. Right now, we are laser-focused on negotiating rapid growth while maintaining our unparallelled quality.
Other aspects of our packaging—in particular, our shipping boxes and pouches—have also come under scrutiny. To clarify, we provide the most ecologically conscious product possible, but above all else, we prioritize animal welfare, ingredient quality and food safety. The liners of our insulated shippers are made from recycled, post-consumer cotton and are fully biodegradable. The only aspect of our packaging that is neither recycleable nor biodegradable are the vacuum-sealed pouches in which our food is cooked. This is where safety matters. We are committed to using only materials that are specifically designed for the temperatures and sous-vide process they are being subjected to and are also guaranteed to be free from BPA, phthalates and other plasticizers known to cause estrogenic activities (we even did independent lab testing to confirm it). As we cannot currently find something that meets our criteria and is recyclable, this limits us, but the health and safety of your dogs is our most important consideration. Since packaging technology is constantly evolving, we look forward to making upgrades in the future.
All that said, it’s what’s inside that truly counts—both for your dogs’ and our planet’s health. Arguably, the largest environmental impact comes from our ingredients. By partnering with ranchers who are good stewards of their lands and farmers who use organic growing practices, we are committed to doing our part for sustainability.