Norfolk-made dog treats are the trendiest in the UK
- Credit: Contibuted
When they founded Pooch’s in 2009, Liz and Sarah Morris probably didn’t imagine that they’d end up collaborating with one of the world’s best-known fashion designers.
But that’s exactly what happened earlier this year when fashion legend Anya Hindmarch – famous for her I Am Not A Plastic Bag tote – launched her new capsule collection of luxury dog accessories.
The design house created a themed pop-up store, the Anya ‘Houndmarch’ butcher’s shop in Pont Street, Knightsbridge.
And alongside their dog collars and leads, they also stocked some bespoke biscuits, which were created especially for the event by Pooch’s.
“We developed a large branded roast beef bone and they also stocked our very own Pooch’s Doggestives,” says Liz.
Liz and Sarah have always loved dogs – they have Connie, Pip and Jess and the rest of the Pooch’s team’s dogs include Oscar, Noah, Bowa, Willow, Phoebe, Charley and Cody.
“We both grew up with dogs, and other animals, from a very young age," says Sarah.
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“For us both growing up dogs were always part of the family.
“They bring such joy with their mischievous antics, sense your mood if you’re feeling low and are the best of companions. In our opinion life is much emptier without a four-legged friend."
They started Pooch’s so that one of their dogs, which had various allergies, didn’t have to miss out on treats.
Sarah initially created five recipes. They did some customer research at local markets, with the treats proving very popular with returning customers.
“The key to a good biscuit or treat is that the dogs have to like them,” says Liz.
“Just as important is the content, which was our mission. Our goal was to produce something that was made with fresh local ingredients, and to show that additives were not necessary - we could produce a product that is healthy, tasty and completely additive free.”
Around that time, they started working with Norfolk Trading Standards and Defra to achieve the accreditation they required.
Sarah created another five recipes and the pair started to approach local, independent businesses to be potential stockists.
“Our first meeting was with Roy Hagan at Myhills in Wymondham who gave us a chance and 14 years later we are still stocked in all six branches of Myhills Pet and Garden,” says Liz.
“We are stocked in more than 60 outlets in Norfolk and some 370 nationwide.
“The support from local businesses has been invaluable to the growth of our business,” she continues.
“Pooch’s HQ is now based in three converted barns, based in Flitcham on the royal Sandringham Estate, with a fantastic team of nine.”
They now have more than 35 products in their range – including their signature biscuit Bones, which come in varieties including roast beef, liver and bacon, chicken and carrot, steak and kidney and cheese.
They also bake biscuit Stix in flavours including venison, gluten free chicken and rice, fish finger and duck crunch.
“We try and cater for every dog’s needs within our range, from gluten free to single protein treats," says Sarah.
"Some are specific for younger and older dogs. We offer a broad range that meets the needs of dogs in a healthy, additive free, and natural way.
“Our ingredients are all sourced from within East Anglia and our fresh meat is delivered to our door from Norwich.”
When it comes to choosing their highlights so far, putting sustainability at the heart of what they do has led to one of their proudest moments.
“Throughout the last 13 years we have been fully aware of our impact on the environment so we ensured we had an active environmental policy from the very start which included using packaging made from sustainable resources,” says Liz.
“In the last couple of years we wanted to go that bit further and in that we started to research how a business like ours could make that difference and become fully carbon neutral - and we did.
“This was achieved by calculating every last unit of energy, every tank of fuel used by staff to get to work, deliveries to and from Pooch’s HQ and a lot more.
“What we could not reduce we offset by supporting projects in the UK and worldwide, which also includes planting 30 trees monthly in the UK.
“Pooch’s has now been a certified official carbon neutral business for seven months.”
To find your nearest Pooch’s stockist go to poochs.co.uk