Acclaimed Mid Sussex dog food producer Arden Grange gives away £25,000 to mark 25 years
An independent, Mid Sussex based producer of naturally hypoallergenic dog and cat food is giving away £25,000 to celebrate its 25th birthday.
Arden Grange, a family-run business just outside Albourne, is holding a free prize draw until the last day of Crufts on March 13, 2022.
Director Wendy Stephens said anybody can enter at www.ardengrange.com or by speaking to a company representative at an upcoming show.
People in the draw could win the top cash prize and a year’s supply of Arden Grange food, or one of the many runner-up and mid-way prizes.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve achieved 25 successful years in this business,” said Wendy.
“We have got a fantastic team of people working behind the scenes and I’m really grateful to every one of them,” she added, thanking customers for supporting the award-winning range too.
The origins of Wendy’s pet food business go back to 1981 when she and her late husband Graham Stephens moved to Sussex and purchased the Albourne site.
Being breeders of German Shepherds and ‘mad about dogs’, the pair bought kennels and then decided to build a warehouse to start a wholesaling pet food business.
They bought vehicles as well and started supplying pet shops, garden centres and vets across the south east.
After importing some high quality pet food for an American company, Wendy and Graham decided to use their extensive knowledge of canine dietary requirements to create their own range of food products.
Their goal, Wendy said, was to provide ‘the best of the best’.
“At the end of 1996 we launched it,” she said, adding that they hired Kensington Roof Gardens for a party featuring members the dog and cat press and various influential people in the trade.
But building their brand’s reputation was a slow process, she added.
“We were known for importing this other product, but nobody knew the Arden Grange brand,” said Wendy.
Going back to ‘square one’, they had to seek out influencers once more and visit vets and breeders to persuade them to try the product, said Wendy.
“It’s not as easy as putting big ads in magazines, because people reading those magazines wouldn’t have known Arden Grange for being a dog food,” she said.
But Wendy said the company kept many of its staff, including area managers and other key people, gradually getting breeders to try their food and see how well their dogs did afterwards.
“Once they’ve tried it they don’t look back and then they start to spread the word,” she said.
Wendy is passionate about pet wellbeing – particularly for German Shepherds – and said Arden Grange ‘will never compromise on ingredients’ even in a pandemic.
All of the company’s canine and feline diets are naturally hypoallergenic, she said, meaning that the food is highly unlikely to contain anything that a pet could be allergic to.
“The important thing is that you avoid the main dietary allergens, so we don’t use any artificial colours or flavour enhancers,” said Wendy.
“You will always find the odd dog that can be allergic to rice or chicken, but they are few and far between.”
Arden Grange aims to use ingredients that suit most pets, including show dogs and breeding dogs, and Wendy said good nutrition is important so pets can digest food correctly.
It is also important for a healthy coat and a pet’s vitality, she said.
For example, the company has introduced ingredients like krill, which is a source of omega 3 fatty acids and prebiotics to help support the digestion and immune system.
Sadly, Graham Stephens died in 2009, but Wendy and her daughter Emma are now the directors of Arden Grange and their products are available in more than 20 countries.
Wendy said the industry is tough but her dedicated staff have risen to the challenge and her company still has a passion for pet wellbeing.
“This is how we started it and this is how it still is today,” she said.
“You can’t cheapen the ingredients and decide to put a heavier profit margin on things and get away with it,” she added.
“We aim to produce quality ingredients in each bag and it’s for dogs of all different sizes, different breeds, different lifestyles.”
“It’s just knowing you can make a difference,” said Wendy.
“That’s what keeps us going.”
Visit www.ardengrange.com to find out more.
Arden Grange also has modern boarding kennels. Find out more at ardengrangekennels.com.