In one of Debbie Phillips-Donaldson´s (Petfood Industry) recent articles about trends, the last paragraph caught my eye. New standards for super-premium were mentioned (note: not by Debbie herself, she quoted somebody else). I read that with mixed feelings. Jealousy because there seem to be standards for super-premium I wasn´t aware of and joy because super-premium had become “official”. After all, how can new standards materialise if there are no old ones?
Super-premium as a denomination for pet food was probably coined in the early 80s of the last century. And so far did not gain any official recognition as far as I know. It is a denomination that is understood (well, is it really?) by the industry, but is meaningless for pet owners. A short anecdote if I may. When I introduced Eukanuba into the European market as a super-premium range of products (yes, I confess) super-premium was unknown as a category. The characteristics of the main product at that time were 30% protein and 20% fat. Unprecedented in Europe for a non- prescription product. Not long after the launch in Spain we saw the “super-premium category” mushroom. Many Spanish pet food manufacturers launched super-premium products. Their definition of super-premium: 30/20!
Of course wisdom has evolved over the years. We know that there is more at stake. And yet we continue to see a very liberal interpretation of super-premium. Shall we, as a New Year´s resolution decide to abolish super-premium as a denomination and come to something that is universally understood and accepted? After all, we are talking top-end, right?