Taking the sustainable food movement to our pets

BRANDVOICE

Diana Scott was a conscious consumer with a mission to end factory farming. She shares how her passion for free-range produce extended beyond her kitchen into a business – and pet bowls across the globe.

With a mission to end factory farming (intensive animal farming designed to maximise production by minimising costs), Diana Scott sought free-range produce in supermarkets and donated to advocacy groups. However, in 2016, the then-marketing consultant turned her attention from her own meals to the kibble she fed her two dogs.

“I made an effort to look at the ingredients listed on the packaging, and I didn’t understand most of what was on there,” Scott says. “And more importantly, there was no information at all about provenance. Isn’t that bizarre?”

Scott began investigating where store-bought pet food came from and whether any options were made from organic and ethically sourced ingredients. She couldn’t find anything – but plenty of consumers asked the same question.

After speaking with animal nutritionist and vet, Dr Kathy Cornack, Scott began to prepare her pet food made from free range and organic produce free from factory farming methods.

“That was hard work, but store-bought food didn’t contain the right ingredients. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

On a trip to New Zealand, Scott came across freeze-dried pet food and immediately saw a scalable solution. What began as a personal endeavour spun into a fully-fledged online business, Frontier Pets, which launched in January 2017.

With recipes from Dr Cornack, Scott began selling freeze-dried pet food made from 100% free-range produce, including eggs and certified organic fruit and vegetables, all sourced from Australian farmers practising sustainable agriculture.

“This all started from a desire for to achieve a higher standard in pet food standards and to end factory farming. It just snowballed into a business for me, and by selling directly to the consumers, we were extremely disruptive when we launched.”

Within six months, Frontier Pets had amassed thousands of customers, and Scott decided to purchase a production facility in northern New South Wales. Within five years, the company was servicing 50,000 customers. And by only sourcing from Australian farmers, Scott says the company was well-placed for exponential growth throughout the pandemic.

“Other distributors couldn’t get pet food because a lot of it was imported from overseas. We are a 100% Australian brand, manufacturing in Australia and supporting Australian farmers. We ticked all the boxes for growth.”

As the global pet food market grows – estimated to be worth US$3.8 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach US$4.57 billion by 2029, according to Mordor Intelligence – Frontier Pets is also growing. Today, Frontier Pets is churning out about 3000 kilograms of pet food daily, compared to 1000 kilograms a month at inception.

The company has recently outgrown its NSW production facility and is moving to a larger lot in Brisbane.

“We didn’t know how big we were going to be, but clearly we had hit a nerve with pet owners also looking for a better product made from ethical materials.

“The fact that we have a lot of self-imposed rigour around our food also positions us as far superior product in an unregulated industry. We’ve had everything compliance tested.”

And while Australia, which has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world at 70%, is Frontier Pets’ main game, the company is already selling to countries across the globe, including Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

“It’s off the charts nutritionally, and it’s ethical. There’s a lot of demand.”