Made in New Zealand from 100% freeze-dried raw ingredients, Animals Like Us carefully source their meats and vegetables working only with ethical farms. Their recipes contain probiotics and prebiotics which work together to help optimise your dog or cat's health using natural nutrient-rich sourced ingredients, freeze-dried to lock in freshness and nutrition. With the recent addition of cat products to the range, we caught up with Co-founder Rob Achten to find out more about the brand.
1) Where did the idea to create Animals Like Us come from?
Over the last ten years I’ve thought a lot about what I eat and what my family eats. That’s where the idea emerged for Animals Like Us. Because pets are animals just like us. And like us, they deserve the same standards of nutrition we all enjoy.
In the back of my mind was always a desire to make a great New Zealand brand for the world stage, so I was thrilled to reunite with icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon, along with agriculture industry leader Craig Hickson. I think together we’re building something pretty special here.
2) What’s unique about the product?
We’re about making raw easy and safe, without the mess. We believe our meal combinations are a world first, made here in New Zealand.
Just like the food we eat ourselves – we love the idea of feeding our pets a more natural whole-foods based diet using the very best ingredients sourced ethically and sustainably from New Zealand. We’re making it safer and easier to add raw whole food to your pets’ diet.
To do this, we combine whole chunks of freeze-dried meats with high protein oven-baked meat and vege bites. Our meats are freeze-dried fresh and utilise the whole prey, with a variety of meat and organ types in each pack. This creates a highly tasty and nutrient rich meal for your pet.
Rob with cat George, at home in Hawkes Bay where Animals Like Us is made. Showing the raw ingredients inside each product.
3) How did you come up with the name Animals Like Us?
We wanted the brand to reflect the relationships between pets and their people and our philosophy of treating animals as equals in the family.
In a competitive sense, other brands spend a lot of time talking about the dog, the cat or the food, but we’ve built a brand that’s based on the relationships, because they’re like us. They need love, and good nutrition. And when we look after our pets, they like us. It’s a simple and authentic place to build a brand from.
It’s more about a family relationship rather than pet ownership. Spotted here - Tilly taking Rob for his daily walk.
Yum! Issie, Opie and Tilly love their jobs as ALU taste-testers.
4) How have you incorporated sustainability within your business?
We make sure our sourcing is from ethical & sustainably managed farms here in New Zealand. Our packaging is also registered as part of NZ’s soft plastic recycling scheme, so you can drop it off at most supermarkets. Our future ideal is to have packs that are completely plastic-free, but currently there is no alternative that meets food and hygiene safety standards. If you hear of one, we’d love to be in touch!
We’re a small team, so sustainability is something we’re all accountable for in our individual areas.
ALU is a proud member of the soft-plastic recycling scheme, which we believe is best practice, for now. Our long-term goal is to be completely plastic-free.
5) Where do you get your inspiration from?
There’s a few sources for me:
- Trixie; my pet Corgie I had when I was growing up from age 2 to about 20. He was my best mate.
- My love for healthy natural food and thinking that if we have it, our pets deserve it too.
- A bowl of fancy muesli I had in a hipster café in NY. The taste was incredible, but I remember staring at all the natural wholefood ingredients and thinking how good it looked, and why can’t pet food look like this too?
- The amazing people that I have around me, their creativity and love for their pets, and the stories they tell about how special their pets are inspire me every day.
6) What’s next for Animals Like Us?
We’ve got a few things up our sleeve. At the moment, we’re focusing on making sure we have the right products for all pet needs. We’ve just launched cat food and we have our kitten and puppy ranges close to complete.
We want to continue to build an iconic much-loved brand in our home market, with a strong supply chain, before we share ALU with the rest of the world. We’ve done it before with icebreaker, pioneering natural clothing, and we want to do it again; this time by introducing a healthier natural food choice for our 4 legged members of our family.
You can shop the Animals Like Us range here.