Pet Food Logistics: Partnership between Farmly Canine and The Erb Group of Companies

Logistics & Industry

Feb 3 2023

· 3 min
Pet Food Logistics: Partnership between Farmly Canine and The Erb Group of Companies

The pet food market has continued to rise year-over-year. According to the Government of Canada, retail sales of pet food in Canada have increased 5.8% from $3.4 billion in 2016 to $4.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to increase in CAGR by a further 4.9%, attaining $5.3 billion by 2025. Dog food specifically continues to be the largest pet food category holding 65.4% of the market share in 2020.

Farmly Canine, a Canadian-based company, is changing the way dog owners feed their pets through cooked pre-made patties going straight from fridge to mouth. They’ve eliminated the need for bowls, spoons, preparation time and clean-ups for dog owners. Using locally sourced ingredients, Farmly removes unwanted processing and preservatives commonly found in dog food.

Acquired in 2017, President of Farmly Canine, Rob Colquhoun, already had a strong presence amongst existing clientele in Colborne, Ontario. Since he himself was based out of Scarborough, he positioned his efforts to rebranding and looking for local retailers in the Greater Toronto Area. In 2020, business began to surge, and the need to revisit their logistics plans arose.

Demand increase

Rob explains, “I was personally driving to and from Guelph, Oakville, Cobourg and various other rural regions. I thought it was great initially to parlay delivery efforts with my sales activities. But I couldn’t keep it up.  While rural areas were also demanding bulk direct buying, I was focused on transitioning our company to a channel model. It just wasn’t sustainable for me as a small business owner. I needed to begin looking for a carrier. I knew nothing about logistics and started to research options. Initially, I thought LTL (less-than-truckload) would be the service I needed. But when I started to outreach to carriers such as The Erb Group, I was able to learn about the right services that fit my business needs.”

In September 2020, Farmly partnered with The Erb Group through their Home Delivery service offering. The company didn’t have inventory demand for a full skid and only needed small Ontario-based delivery support to retailers. During the pandemic, the company briefly came onboard with The Erb Groups’ online e-commerce platform, Erban Marketplace to keep profits flowing during uncertain times. The platform has since closed, but Farmly Canine continues to grow through retailer demand. As of December 2021, Ontario was home to the most pet and pet supplies stores across the country. At that time, there were roughly 776 such stores in Canada’s most populous province. Quebec and British Columbia, the second and third most populous provinces, came second and third with 506 and 347 stores, respectively. As of March 2022, Farmly operates in 18 retailers with the aim to expand in Ottawa, Barrie and Kingston by the end of the year.

Shifting focus

Currently, The Erb Group supports Farmly Canine with 40% of its delivery logistics. Rob explains, “I can handle the GTA deliveries currently, while The Erb Group supports us with our wider Ontario efforts. Right now, as a business owner, I need to focus my time on progressing the company through branding and serving new markets.  Demand is crazy right now, and I’m tired of saying we can’t deliver to you. Because of this new partnership, we were able to reach new markets and find more time to develop a new website and improve our SEO greatly, spend more time with local retailers and ultimately fine-tune our product.”

Farmly is continuing to evaluate potential market growth opportunities, such as expanding shipments to Western Canada and cold storage facilities in the future. With The Erb Groups’ cold storage warehousing solutions in Kitchener, Baden and Quebec, the business has ample opportunity to continue its logistics efforts with The Erb Group as the company grows.

Barbara Lis, Business Development Manager at The Erb Group, says, “Small businesses like Farmly are vital to our economy. Although we are a large company, we regularly work with businesses of all sizes. It can be daunting for business owners to embark on their logistics journey for the first time, which is why we start with a conversation and help educate them on the process and solutions at an early stage.”

To learn more about our home delivery logistics service, call us at 1-800-665-COLD, or get a quote today!