Original Air Date: August 22, 2012
(ANCHORAGE, AK) - A product made from Alaskan salmon is growing into markets located in the lower 48. Yummy Chummies, Alaska's popular dog treat, is already carried nationwide by Costco stores. Last month, the Arctic Paws Company scored a national distribution contract with Sam's Club.
Yummy Chummies are a soft and chewy canine treat made with wild Alaskan salmon. Owner and Founder of Arctic Paws, LLC Brett Gibson created the first batch of Yummy Chummies with his wife in their own kitchen in 1998. The Gibson's family-owned company has grown over the years to employ over 40 workers in Alaska and some in Arizona.
Gibson said the advantage of using salmon over other proteins is a health component tied with palatability.
"The health component is great proteins, good omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which is really good for dogs' skin and coat, and then you couple that with how palatable it is and how much dogs love it and that's what really makes a great treat," said Gibson.
Yummy Chummies are made using the byproducts of various types of salmon initially processed for human consumption. Arctic Paws purchases the heads, bellies, tails and skin of salmon filleted by seafood processors in Anchorage and Valdez, giving them a much needed outlet in utilizing other parts of the fish.
Many American companies either process their products or buy ingredients overseas, but Gibson said Arctic Paws goes out of its way to ensure it uses Alaskan or American products.
"From the bag to the ingredients to the salmon, as of last year, is 100 percent U.S. sourced, so this is truly a made in the U.S.A. product being made here in Alaska which is not very common," said Gibson.
Gibson said his marketing is not done in typical fashion, due to the fact that Arctic Paws is still growing.
"Our company has really been founded on word-of-mouth, grassroots type of marketing and we still rely very heavily on that," said Gibson.
Pet culture in America has grown globally, and as a pet owner himself, Gibson said dogs are important to the family unit.
"They provide unconditional love and companionship, and people tend to grab onto that, and they wanna treat that dog as well as one of their own children," said Gibson.
Looking to handle the growing demand and to keep prices reasonable in the lower 48, Arctic Paws opened a new warehouse and packaging facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
In September, 650 Sam's Club stores will stock Yummy Chummies nationwide.
Another Alaskan product, Copper River Seafoods based in Anchorage, now offers their gift smoked salmon product for sale on Amazon.com.