Frontier Pets: the North Coast Company Making Ethical Dog Food
Diana Scott believes your dog could change the world. Passionate about putting an end to factory farming, Diana created Frontier Pets. Using ethically sourced, human-grade ingredients, their pet food is made and packaged in the North Coast village of Evans Head with produce from free range farms around Australia. Coastbeat spoke to Diana about the demand for dog food with a difference.
Great ideas typically arrive in the most mundane of moments. Diana Scott was feeding her beloved bull terriers Franki and Jar Jar Binks when she looked at the ingredients and started asking questions. She’d always tried to eat ethically and support animal advocacy groups but wondered why she didn’t apply the same standards to her furry friends.
“It didn’t even occur to me and I don’t think it occurs to a lot of others,” Diana explains. “I could be the strongest advocate for ending factory farming and still feed my dogs a kibble or raw food that has been manufactured using the offcuts of industrialised animals.”
Determined to make a change, Diana set the wheels in motion for what would become Frontier Pets, a company committed to supporting ethical farming while delivering a nutritious and convenient product for dogs. She began developing a business strategy and sought out a respected animal nutritionist and vet. The next step was to find free range farms.
“My husband Tony and I travelled up and down the east coast and asked paddock to plate farmers if they would be willing to supply beef, chicken and pork for this purpose,” Diana explains. “They were all incredibly delighted and saw it as another way to use the entire animal.”
All the advice Diana had received made it clear that her product needed to be raw rather than heavily processed. In an effort to make food that was as convenient as possible, she explored freeze drying and found it to be the perfect solution.
“We combine the meat with free range eggs and organic fruit and vegetables to form pellets which are then frozen,” Diana says. “The product goes into a freeze drier which extracts the ice without affecting the nutritional value of each pellet.”
Removing the water means the product is 75 percent lighter and preserves itself for many years. Once dog owners purchase a pack of the raw, freeze dried food they only need to add warm water and the food reconstitutes back to its original form. While this ingenious alternative to traditional dog food may sound simple and straightforward, Diana admits that it has been a long and expensive journey.
“I remember telling my husband that this venture would probably cost $50,000 and take three months to pull off,” she smiles knowingly. “But it took three years to get to the launch date and we’d already invested our house and superannuation.”
Initially outsourcing the manufacturing, Diana decided she wanted the company to have its own manufacturing facility. Suitable sites near her Gold Coast home were scarce so when a promising facility became available in Evans Head, Diana and Tony decided to investigate. They’d never heard of the seaside village near Ballina, but the site met their needs, so in 2016 they packed up their lives and made the move.
“When we first arrived, we lived in the freezer for six months because we couldn’t find a house!” Diana reminisces with a laugh. “When production started, we were kicked out of the freezer and moved into a caravan.”
“We’ve given our all to make Frontier Pets a success and we couldn’t have done it if we didn’t believe so strongly in the need to end factory farming.”
Diana says she feels the peace and tranquillity of Evans Head as soon as she steps outside. She has embraced the relaxed pace of life and likes to take the dogs for long walks on the beach. Diana confesses that her pooches now end up on her bed at night, something she wouldn’t have allowed a short while ago.
“In general, I’ve noticed that dogs have moved from the back yard to the bedroom,” she explains. “People have a different relationship with their pets and they’re far more informed when it comes to their health.”
“When people are informed, they make better choices and when people buy our dog food, they’re supporting ethical and sustainable free-range farming.”
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