An Interview With Prashant Patwardhan, Pawfect Foods Founder

I’m here with a fresh Behind the Biz interview. If you haven’t come across my weekly interview series then you can find out more about it on my podcast – second series starting in SEPTEMBER.In short, I chat to the founders of new and exciting businesses and share their stories.

Today I’m chatting with Prashant Patwardhan, founder of Pawfect Foods.

Where Did You Get The Inspiration For Pawfect Foods?

At Pawfect Foods we reject the musty, old-fangled belief that dogs are single-track carnivores. Instead we adopt a more progressive, ‘flexitarian’ outlook that actively champions the unavoidable truth that first-class fruit, veg, herbs and dairy presents dogs of all ages and lifestyles with an everyday affordable stash of sublime tastes and nutritional benefits.

For too long dogs have unwittingly been treated as furry, four-legged waste disposal units which mirror historical human junk food frailties.  Unfortunately poor judgement calls have unwittingly created a lost generation of clinically obese hounds with patchy health and spiralling veterinary bills!

We’ll be working hard to do our bit to support a fast evolving healthier living landscape for our dogs, by focusing on best-in-class guilt-free treats harvested from some of the most pristine, unblemished food producing regions on the planet (high altitude Himalayan Plains)  where anti-biotic free herds roam in pesticide free pastures.  

When Did You Know That You Were Onto Something?

Our healthy agenda is hardly rocket science!

Against a backdrop of 1 in 3 UK dogs being deemed clinically obese and spiralling veterinary costs it made sense that someone needed to suggest another path when it came to nutrient-savvy dog treats.

As a young business we’ve never subscribed to the notion that great tastes and healthy convictions aren’t irreconcilable ambitions, it was time for someone to ruffle the feathers of a fixture that too often overlooks all-natural, less-is-more treats.

We may be a young British business that manufactures in India, however in some senses we’re already a global enterprise scouring the planet for best-in-class/human-grade ingredients (milk, fruit, veg & herbs) which as mentioned leads us to some of the most unspoilt food producing regions on the planet from idyllic shorelines and now-capped Himalayan peaks, to tropical orchards and sprawling deserts.

Simplicity sits at the heart of our ‘healthy living’ agenda.  Our recipes and processes are consciously deliberately simple and free of excessive mechanization. We spend a lot of time with nutritionists assembling our range and so have no time for idle ingredients, if they bring nothing worthwhile to the party they’re out.

Tell us about your ‘hero’ brand

We’ve spent a lot of time assembling, trialling and re-assessing our portfolio, however as a brand that’s still a little wet behind the ears it’s probably a little too early to say.  

That said our high successful Spring launch in Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Poland and Luxembourg (with 6 more markets to follow including UK PATS show Sept 19) would suggest that our various Himalayan cheese treats are going down a storm.  

Consumer and retailer anecdotal suggests there’s a real appetite for tasty and involving functional foods (e.g. omega 3 /calcium-rich dairy treats)

What Did You Do Before Launching Pawfect?

I’ve basically spent the last 20+ years plying my trade as a marketer within a number of blue-chip enterprises, covering every imaginable sphere from beer and spirits to personnel sourcing and communication networks.  

I’m very proud of my corporate track record which has paved the way for me now to roam through the grass on the other side of the wall (pro-active underdog/disruptor brand) an altogether more personal venture around pet health and clean-deck food consumption.  

Like any other ambitious marketer there’s always a nagging voice at the back of your head that says, that task went really well but if it was my own brand I might have done things a little differently.  As a result a time was always going to come when I put my many years of hands on experience on the line and backed myself to succeed.

How Did The Brand Name Come About?

I think Pawfect speaks for itself but our ongoing ‘pursuit of perfection’ sits at the nub of everything we do.

Please share Your Biggest High & Low With Us

Biggest High: surrounding yourself with like-minded experts. Core to our beliefs is being best-in-class, which helps explain why we brought in respected dog nutritionist Dr Veneta Korhuhrova (PSST! She’s also been part of Behind the Biz) who has been instrumental in the assembly of our extensive range. We believe in her so much that we even bought her Doggy’s Cuppaproposition and added it to our healthy pet treat collection.

Biggest Low: logistics is always something of a challenge with our global vision. Thinking about out Yak Cheese chews alone you can see the sort of mischief that adverse weather conditions, archaic transportation, bygone dialects and intransigent global food standards all conspire to make our lives a little extra tricky BUT NOT impossible!

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Tad clichéd but DREAM BIG and don’t let the risk adverse masses affect your stride. Always take advice from ‘wise owls’ in the know but never lose faith in your inbuilt hunches.

What’re your Plans For Next 12 Months?

So much to talk about but we have to be a little discreet as many of our ideas are at the ‘early doors’ planning stage so wouldn’t want to give away too much at this stage. Suffice to say that we have a comprehensive sales, marketing and distribution bedded down as well as a list of next tier innovation – integral to our plan is a proud UK heartland because no-one appreciates their pets more than the Brits.

You can find out more about Pawfect Foods over on their site and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you to Prashant for taking part in Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed hearing about his business journey with Pawfect Foods and I hope you did too.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.