With your decision to manufacture pet food from ingredients that were originally only intended for human consumption (HFC), you have gone in an entirely new direction in the pet supplies sector and acted as a pioneer. What prompted you to take this unusual step when you launched Almo Nature back in 2000?
Doctor Salento, who is always by my side and work, is the one who first inspired our philosophy, and then the products, with his attitude and gestures. He was the brains. I just gave his ideas a voice. Doctor Salento was my first dog, who showed me the way to Almo Nature. He was a mongrel, named after the town of Salento in southern Italy where I first picked him up, and later Doctor Salento after he showed me what I needed to do to create Almo Nature in 2000. I had come to a point where I didn’t understand why we would give to our companion animals, who give us so much and for whom we are responsible, food that we would not be willing to consume ourselves. Dogs are carnivores and cats are strict carnivores. Yet the only pet food that was available at the time was made from food derivatives and a lot of cereal, all highly processed. Salento and all dogs and cats deserve the kind of quality I would provide for myself, too. And they deserve to be able to meet their natural nutritional needs. So the idea of making pet food with ingredients that were fit for human consumption, prepared as naturally as possible, and balanced to meet the specific nutritional needs of cats and dogs was born, and with it Almo Nature and HFC ingredients. I am proud that some other pet food companies in Europe and in North America have since adopted this approach and started making some products with ingredients of higher quality.
Did you have to put a lot of effort into convincing retailers about HFC products? What arguments did you use to win them over?
I believed in the pet food I had made – with human-grade aniwanted to smell, touch, or even taste it. People were surprised; never before had there been a pet food offering that was actually appealing to humans. I did not need any arguments to win them over: the product spoke for itself.