Prevented Ocean Plastic™ and the team at Benyfit Natural have something in common. Both are built on a simple premise to put people and the planet (and definitely puppies too) first.
As part of their mission to produce premium raw food for dogs while mitigating the impact of its production on the environment, Benyfit source sustainable ingredients, strive to have zero waste of product, and care about the packaging they use.
In their own words, “We looked at all options when it comes to packaging our delicious raw dog food recipes and we’ve not found a solution that works quite as well as plastic. Perfect for neatly stacking and saving space plus plastic keeps your dog food fresher for longer. We’ve worked with the team at Prevented Ocean Plastic to create a tub made from recycled plastic collected from coastlines across the globe, that would have otherwise polluted our oceans.”
For the second part in a new series focusing on our partner brands, we took the opportunity to talk to the UK-based company’s co-founder, Greg Van Praagh, and find out more about why they chose Prevented Ocean Plastic™.
• Benyfit Natural’s dedication to sourcing high quality, ethically sourced ingredients is clear, but can you expand a little on your outlook in that regard, including your approach to sustainability and environmental responsibility?
“We know the impact that the pet food industry as a whole has on our environment… we simply cannot feed our pets with zero carbon footprint. However, producing raw dog food involves little to no processing when compared directly to wet (which has the biggest impact on our environment) and dry food. It is the more environmentally friendly option of the three when choosing a food for your pet.
As a business we’re starting to make changes to the way our business runs and the choices that we make to minimise that impact wherever we can, and Prevented Ocean Plastic is one of the biggest changes we’ve made so far.“
• Benyfit have led the way in more than one category before now, and you are now the first pet food product to use Prevented Ocean Plastic. How do you stay at the forefront of these cutting-edge developments? How important is to you, to continue to be thought leaders?
“We have always been used to being at the forefront of innovation in the raw feeding industry, which is why we’re considered the experts. We were one of the first raw pet food businesses to launch almost 10 years ago, and since then many have followed in our footsteps. When we launched in 2014, raw feeding wasn’t as widely understood or accepted by the majority of dog owners, so we had to put in the groundwork to educate and inform pet owners of the benefits of raw feeding and how to raw feed safely.
In our business everyone is encouraged to ask questions and to question the way that we do things, which leads us to making changes like the switch to Prevented Ocean Plastic. As an established business it’s easy to get set in your ways and not make the big changes, but when we have made changes like these it’s only resulted in positive feedback from our customers, our trade partners, and the people that work in our business. It’s never just one person at Benyfit Natural encouraging us to do better, it’s the whole team and that’s how we continue to make improvements.“
• Why did you choose to work with Prevented Ocean Plastic?
“Back in 2016 we made the change to a tub made from recycled materials, which was a big change in the right direction. When we first learned about POP, it wasn’t just the environmental impact we could have on preventing plastic entering oceans, but also the impact that the POP eco-system has on local communities, providing work and income for so many. The team at POP were so knowledgeable about the product as well as the impact that POP has and how we could contribute to that change that it was a no-brainer for us!“
• What does working with Prevented Ocean Plastic mean to the team at Benyfit?
“We feel hugely privileged to be the first UK pet business to partner with Prevented Ocean Plastic. It means as a team we can feel comfortable and confident when packaging our products, knowing that we aren’t contributing towards the production of any single-use plastics. Based on our annual production of tubs for our raw food we’re preventing 562,176 bottles from entering our oceans each year… just imagine how many more could be prevented if the rest of the pet industry made the switch.“
• And what do you think it will mean to your customers?
“It’s no secret that consumers are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact when shopping for their pets, and this ultimately impacts their purchase decisions. At the same time they’re becoming aware of the many businesses that are greenwashing as opposed to making real, impactful changes. We often get questioned by our customers about our packaging, as the initial visual of a plastic tub can be concerning for many. However, once we explain the origin of our plastic tubs, and the impact that using Prevented Ocean Plastic has, there’s nothing but positive feedback and praise for making the change.
When we made the announcement we received hundreds of comments, private messages and emails applauding the decision and people eager to learn more about Prevented Ocean Plastic and the work you’re doing.”
• Would you encourage other companies to work with Prevented Ocean Plastic?
“Absolutely! The more companies that make the switch to Prevented Ocean Plastic the better!”
• Can you talk a little about the products that will be packaged in Prevented Ocean Plastic?
“At Benyfit Natural we make 100% natural, premium raw dog food. We use human-grade, ethically sourced ingredients, and mince together meat, bone, offal and vegetables to create nutritious and delicious raw meals that dog’s love. Everything is made in small batches at our East Sussex HQ and delivered to our customers frozen.
The nature of raw dog food means there’s often some blood and extra moisture during the defrosting phase, which is why we’ve always opted for a secure, resealable, leak-proof plastic tub. This means our tubs can easily be stored in the freezer on delivery but also we’re confident once defrosted that they’ll be no spillage or leaks in the fridge. Nothing else has quite delivered the same result, and now with POP we can continue to use a secure plastic tub with the knowledge that it’s doing some good too, without any compromise on quality.“
• What are you most excited about within the world of sustainability?
“The fact that there is now an abundance of better choices! So many new and innovative solutions exist now that it’s making it easier and simpler for businesses to make sustainable choices.
10 (or even 5) years ago, businesses were limited with their choices when it came to making sustainable switches. Whether that was with packaging, machinery or sourcing ingredients, both on the selection of what we could do but also the financial impact those costs might have had on the business or the end consumer. With the increase in innovation, investment and new solutions like Prevented Ocean Plastic, making these changes is now more attainable for most businesses, so there really is no excuse to not be looking into and making switches like these.“
• What are Benyfit Natural’s ambitions for the future?
“We’ve only just begun our sustainability journey, and so there’s lots more change to come at Benyfit Natural. As a business that’s been going for almost 10 years, we’re making sure to take the time to do the research and make the best choices when it comes to making switches, like we have with POP.
As a business we have ambitions to become the biggest UK raw pet food manufacturer. We already have plans for new recipes, new product formats and innovation in raw feeding so the next few years are going to be big for us. We continue our commitment to educating pet owners in the UK on the benefits of raw feeding and will continue to be the experts in all things raw!”
Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is proud to work with the team at Benyfit Natural as we go from strength to strength in 2023 and beyond. Together we can continue to set standards in our fields, close the loop of a circular economy, and take action to prevent ocean plastic.
About PREVENTED OCEAN PLASTIC:
Prevented Ocean Plastic is a pioneering plastic recycling company developing locally customized sorting and collection infrastructure to underserved communities across the world. We are committed to strengthening the supply chain and scaling solutions for the management of plastic waste where we work. We provide high quality traceable recycled plastic to global markets to drive environmental, social and economic value from the bottle collector to the end consumer.