Nestle Purina® Pet Care Company Wows: Pet Food Company Emanates Integrity and Exudes Passion
Stand Tall with Integrity. Smile Tall With Passion. Thrive Tall With Expertise. Live Tall With Performance. Create Tall With Innovation.
These are the “Five Talls” of Nestle Purina Pet Care Company – a maxim or saying of what each company associate is expected to do and be every day while they work at Nestle Purina Pet Care Company. (Or for this blog post’s purposes, NPPC.)
A company that operates by the original (Danforth) founders’ family motto of doing and being the right thing everyday, I found NPPC to be a passionate, knowledgeable, aware, generous company that is as involved in the animal welfare community as it is in the pet food industry. Its associates are as involved as they are dedicated, as loving as they are intelligent.(I was flown to NPPC for three days of learning and fun in the first week of October; all expenses were paid by Nestle Purina Pet Care. This blog post is an honest take on my experiences while there.)
The NPPC associates I met on this trip are honest to goodness down-to-earth, generous, passionate, smart, astute persons of great character who love their pets more than life – just like you and I do. Perhaps that’s why another motto is “Your Pets. Our Passion.” Because I got the
impression that ALL pets are their passion. According to Gordon Wade, Director of Marketing (see picture at left), Purina® has “high expectations of selves, a successful culture and a guiding principle that makes it all work.”
I can honestly tell you, as a guest of the company for three days, all three sentences are enthusiastically true.
“All we do is pets. We’re fully dedicated and passionate pet lovers,” he continued. Thus my assumption that all pets are their passion…
For example, I betchya didn’t know this: NPPC has partnerships with North Shore Animal League, The Humane Society of Missouri, The Michigan Humane Society, ARF – Tony LaRusso’s Animal Rescue Foundation, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and Shelter Me Photography.
I was dually impressed and eager to learn of these partnerships. I had no idea before this that Purina® was so heavily involved in the pet welfare community. But it gets better. If you think this is great, scroll down to read more about their animal welfare efforts. They are REMARKABLE to say the VERY least.
Nestle Purina Pet Care Company, to get some logistical stuff out of the way that some readers might be interested in, has 18 manufacturing plants and near 10,000 employees in the Americas. THEY DO NOT INVASIVE ANIMAL TESTING. Headquarters for the company is in St. Louis, Missouri. NPPC manufactures some of the most popular, recognized and trusted pet food brands, including Purina® Dog Chow®, Purina Cat Chow®, Friskies®, Fancy Feast®, Purina ONE®, Purina Pro Plan®, Tidy Cats® cat litter, and TONS more.
The Purina® brand stands for Trust, and the Purina brand consistently maintains a leadership position for “Trust” with pet owners. They earn that trust every with unparalleled knowledge of their consumers and their pets; their expertise in nutrition; their comprehensive range of high-quality established brands; and their dedicated associates, whose mission is to enrich the lives of pets and the people who love them.
Their site says, “At Nestlé Purina Pet Care Company, we’re passionately committed to making pets’ lives better. As the pace of change in pet care accelerates, our challenge is to lead with fresh, innovative approaches to making the lives of dogs and cats better. We are proud of our heritage, and we are constantly exploring new trends and ideas that define the future of pet care and of Nestlé Purina.” Purina is all about creating shared value.
And I realized that that is in full-swing while I was there.
We were first taken into the corporate headquarters for presentations by multiple associates. These included presentations about nutrition, pet welfare, health and wellness, commitment to quality and food safety and more. In my opinion, each associate/manager who spoke was extremely educated, experienced and passionate about their position – and about people’s pets… NPPC has some of the smartest associates on its side that I have ever come across in the pet nutrition and pet welfare communities.
These people include Dan Koehler, PR at Checkmark for NPPC; Gordon Wade, Director of Marketing; Tim Curran, Manager of NPPC Retail Innovation Center; Bill Cooper, VP of Pet Food Manufacturing North America; Adrian Palensky, VP of Quality Assurance for Nestle Purina North and Latin America; Arleigh Reynolds, Senior Research Scientist in the nutrition group; Jill Villarreal, Senior Behavior Scientist (her presentation was AWESOME and her job includes pet wellbeing programs, research and cat elimination behavior research); Brenda Bax, Director in Marketing responsible for Purina’s work to build better communities for people and pets (her presentation on pet welfare was my favorite because Purina is amazing and SO involved in bettering pets’ lives everywhere); and Amanda Hassner, Chef.
We got to sample the recipes that inspire foods like Friskie®s Tasty Treasures® – a tuna and aged cheddar sformato with roasted chicken and pan juices. Then we tasted the inspiration behind Beggin Strips® Collisions™ — peanut butter bacon toast. I know they sound weird but they were delicious and Chef Amanda loves her job dearly — and it shows.
We also got to take a campus tour, which included sights and learning opportunities at the Research and Development lab, a campus overview and the Pilot Plant peek. This was interesting because we got to see the operational and day-to-day doings of the staff.
The second day started with a presentation by Candy Caciolo, Portfolio Director for Specialty, Breeder and Pet Acquisition at NPPC. She gets to manage Purina’s pet specialty exclusive brands, the Breeder/Enthusiast group, Pet Welfare/Pet Cause and Purina Farms.
Purina Farms promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement, and the positive bond between people and their pets. You’re able to get up close and
personal with a variety of animals on a self-guided tour, making the experience a truly unforgettable one. I went through with Cat Chat Caren and hugged horses, caressed cows, and rubbed rabbits!
We were at Purina Farms that whole day, a strikingly beautiful farm seemingly in the middle of nowhere with 350 acres. Here there’s an actual farm with cows and goats and bunnies, plus the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team and Purina Incredible Dog Challenge area set-up. It’s like, an actual diving dock and a HUGE field for the performance and agility events like Frisbee and Jack Russell racing.
We got to spend the day watching the Team practice, touring the farm, touring the Purina Events Center, a world-class facility (45,000-square-foot exhibition space) with all the amenities to make every show exceptional. They have a café and a dog bathing room – they even had changing rooms for the show dog owners! The Purina Events Center is designed to host a variety of canine activities from conformation shows to performance events such as obedience and agility.
This is where the Pet Project Event was the next day.
The Purina Pet Project Event was my favorite part of the trip! So many people came from so many places (I saw license plates from Illinois, Missouri and Ohio in the parking lot)
to participate in making items for shelter dogs and cats who are currently going without. (See pictures with descriptions.) We made doghouses, dog beds, cat beds, cat blankets, dog bowls, dog Frisbees, and adoption kits for both cats and dogs. The adoption kits included food, a toy, a place-mat, bowl, and more.
We also – before the pet project event – learned about cat training and dog training and got to see a live demo of a cat going through an agility course and several cats doing several different tricks. The trainer was intelligent and perceptive/astute and told me how I can train my own cat. (See my cat agility pictures to left courtesy Cat Fancy.)
The best part of this trip to me was learning about all the animal welfare and community-oriented programs the company has. They have programs that they do “with pets” and ones that are “for pets.”
- Purina Donation Program
- Rally to Rescue
- Changing Perceptions
- PetSlimdown.com (a very large effort to stop pet obesity)
- Dream Dog Park
- Disaster Relief Program
- Pet Advocate Leader
- Purina One Shelter Program
- St. Louis Pet Care Coalition ‘Pet Care Pride Day”
- Pets for Seniors
- PAW (P@W) – Pets at Work
- Canine Health Foundation
- Pet Partners
- “America’s Pet Debate”
According to Bax, “pet welfare programs are very complex at Purina; they’re done by many organizations and we need them to partner with to work together”
The best part of this? PURINA SPENT ALMOST $40 MILLION ON ANIMAL WELFARE IN 2011.
$40 million dollars.
That’s astounding. It’s amazingly generous. It’s beyond comprehension to me.
The bottom line here after all of this, is that Purina is wonderful. They are caring, they are loving, they are generous, they are smart, they are hard-working and they are enthusiastic.
All the people I met at NPPC make the company what it is today – a caring, whole-hearted, passionate place to be and work.
And I’d like to give four paws up to all who are there who make it the wonderful company that it is.