This CPA is making a difference within the pet food industry

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Open Farm co-founder Jacqueline Prehogan along with her rescue pugs, Bella, Maddie and Duncan (Photograph by Vanessa Heins)

There’s a growing need for responsible and ethically sourced food—not just for our own health, but for that of our pets, too. It’s a requirement that’s inspired Jacqueline Prehogan and Isaac Langleben to co-found their natural pet food company Open Farm.

A COMPANY IS BORN

One night back in 2010, Prehogan found herself stuck in traffic next to a transport truck stuffed with pigs. She wondered where they were going and where had they arrive from? “As a lifelong animal lover, I set out to grasp where meat comes from and the way animals are raised,” says Prehogan.

After evaluating traditional farm practices and the food supply chain, she sought higher, more holistic sources of nutrition for her family. “I wanted to supply a greater option—first for ourselves after which for our pets,” she says. But, because healthier products for pets weren’t available, the concept of Open Farm was born.

THE BASICS OF BUSINESS

As a commerce accounting graduate and entrepreneur, Prehogan possessed several invaluable assets that helped turn an idea right into a viable business: her background as a CPA, financial knowledge and her previous experience launching Canada Pooch, a pet apparel and accessories brand, were all invaluable.

“The funds of business are complicated, especially at first if you’re doing all the pieces yourself, from invoicing to bookkeeping,” she says. “My CPA training helped quite a bit as I had a great sense of economic literacy. And, as we grew, financial features became more complicated with fundraising and investors, but I used to be still in a position to pursue and execute these more complex transactions.”

Soon, what began as a Canadian-based business flourished into a global pet food company. Open Farm’s unique offerings and goal to make a difference struck a positive note with consumers, which has since led to exponential growth.

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS PRACTICES

Open Farm is revolutionizing the best way we take into consideration pet health and nutrition. The corporate has formed partnerships with leading animal welfare and sustainability certifiers, and sources high-quality ingredients from humane farms and sustainable fisheries.

The corporate advocates for nutritious ingredients, animal welfare, sustainability and climate motion while incorporating these ideals into their business practices.

“What has made us successful from the start is that we’ve all the time strived to be different,” says Prehogan. She notes that it was the primary pet food company to acquire leading animal welfare certifications on 100 per cent of its meat.

ENSURING AN ETHICAL FOOD CHAIN

The way in which that Open Farm sources food comes from the concept that healthier, happier cattle lead fuller lives and, in turn, produce more nutritious beef, pork and poultry. “Our entire supply chain ensures that animals are raised with kindness and respect,” says Prehogan.

Open Farm’s partnerships with Global Animal Partnership and Certified Humane ensures that the livestock are fed a well-balanced weight loss plan, which suggests that the meat that goes into their pet food is freed from antibiotics and hormones.

Fish is exclusively wild-caught, so it’s freed from antibiotics and artificial feed. The methods used to catch fish minimize bycatching and impact to the marine environment and sea floor, while also adhering to Ocean Smart and/or the Marine Stewardship Council sustainability standards on sourcing.

The farms used to create the pet food are routinely audited by third-party certifiers Global Animal Partnership and Certified Humane and, if suppliers don’t uphold ethical practices, Open Farm won’t work with them.

Open Farm tracks all the pieces that goes right into a pet’s bowl back to its source and prides itself on the flexibility to be completely transparent about what goes into its products. “We go to the ends of the Earth to create the very best food to your pet, in order that they live a protracted, glad life,” says Prehogan.

Customers may even trace ingredients themselves by scanning a code on the packaging. “We predict giving knowledge to the pet parent is power, in order that they know exactly what they’re feeding their pet and might make a call for themselves,” she adds.

BECOMING THE NEXT GLOBAL PET FOOD BRAND

In lower than six months, after launching in Toronto in 2014 with distribution across Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States, the corporate quickly expanded west across each countries and secured an intensive network of pet store retailers. Open Farm products can currently be present in greater than 6,500 stores across Canada and the U.S., in addition to in Australia, China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Growing from a staff of two to 85, Open Farm has now set its sights on expanding to Europe and constructing their current presence in Asia. They’ve also pledged that, by 2030, they may reduce their carbon footprint by 42 per cent.

What keeps them going? Prehogan and Langleben’s own rescues pugs, Bella, Maddie and Duncan, who deserve the very best because they’re a part of the family, too.

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