As an owner of Claudia's Canine Bakery, based in Maumelle, Arkansas, Jeffrey Levi recognizes that we all love to spoil our dogs.

Back in 1997, his business created an ambitious category of freshly baked and decorated treats for dogs. And these are not just everyday snacks. These treats sell in the fresh bakery department.

And it all started in one test store in Sacramento, California, and lately business is booming.

“We are a bakery that produces human styled fresh baked treats for dogs. Think about iced cookies and mini cupcakes,” points out Levi, who serves as vice president of sales & marketing. “It really is a great opportunity for conventional retailers who understand the opportunity. Pet ownership has skyrocketed in America.”

Consider the following statistics:

  • 54% of American own dogs.
  • 32 % of pet owners belong to the Millennial generation, and 25% of them will have a birthday party for them.
  • 79% of dog owners will buy their dog a holiday present.
  • 68% of pet owners say their pets bring them happiness.

“Several months ago, I was contacted by Raley's in California to see if we could help them with an assortment of freshly baked treats that could be sold alongside their amazing cupcakes and pastries. We did it,” Levi explains. “This is a fixture that contains high quality, fresh baked treats for dogs, changing both the pet and bakery departments. The sales numbers are amazing, and Raley's is extremely happy with the results. Currently we have this fixture in six stores, and we are in the process of rolling it out to additional Raley's locations and other chains nationwide.”

The marketing plan revolves around the idea of seasonalizing the treat options: pumpkins, turkeys, and goblins, etc.

Claudia's Canine Bakery operates two baking facilities, both of them are SQF certified. All of the products are made with only human-grade ingredients. The treats are baked in rack ovens, decorated by hand, and most everything is packaged by hand, Levi explains.

“In terms of trends, dog treats are following human treats by about three years,” Levi says. “We offer macarons, cake pops, and more. A customer might think they want a macaron for me and a macaron for Fluffy. This is incremental sales for the bakery. This is the right time for a program like this.”