Making it Work

Arklow dog treat company aims for green stamp in sustainable packaging

Green Treats helps establish start-ups in the dog food market with recipe and packaging product development

Stephen Smith, owner of Green Treats: ‘We invested in a food wrapper machine that can do compostable paper.’ Picture: Bryan Meade

Green Treats

Founded by: Stephen and Darren Smith in 2019

Staff: 23

Funding: €1.8 million

After moving to a new production facility, Green Treats, an Arklow dog food company, is hoping to make its mark as a sustainable dog treat production company that helps establish start-ups in the dog food market.

The company, founded in 2019 by brothers Stephen and Darren Smith, develops affordable products for smaller brands from scratch and advises companies through solutions in recipe development and a new product development book on packaging.

Stephen Smith, who has 25 years of experience in the dog food industry, founded Green Treats to help start-ups in the industry with lower production runs in the specialised treat market.

“I could see small brands couldn’t afford to buy the 30 tonne minimum order quantities (MOQ) that other companies are looking for. But we had the ability to do one to five tonne MOQ to get the brand started,” Smith told the Business Post.

“With the larger scale production facilities, they have just mammoth production machines. These smaller brands that wanted to launch some new products really don’t have the money or they might not have the time to wait on these larger companies. So we identified that we can develop like a superfood product, we can develop supplement products, really quickly for them in small batches that they can get to market quickly.”

Green Treats has enjoyed remarkable growth, working with Denzel dog food company in Britain and securing a manufacturing contract for Aldi when they developed a dog dental brush treat for the company.

Since then, Smith said the business has grown and companies have approached Green Treats, enquiring about their services, with customers looking for more added value on dog food products.

“When customers go to buy a pet treat, they want them to have a function for the animal like skin, coat or joint care. So we’re finding that the big turning point is the consumer looking for more functions to the treat.”

Through Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up fund the company was able to raise €1.8 million in early 2023, which Smith said allowed the company to purchase better equipment and a brand new production facility.

The founder said Green Treats’ main goal is to establish itself as a company with a focus on sustainable packaging, and that it has made big steps in the right direction.

“We are going to be looking at developing more innovative products and working on sustainable packaging, basically our green stamp as a company,” Smith said.

“We would also like to be ahead in offering sustainable packaging for our customers. So with part of the Enterprise money we invested in a food wrapper machine that can do compostable paper. We’ve launched that to two customers so far.”

Smith said that due to the shelf life of certain products with compostable packaging, the company is conducting shelf life studies to develop a way to offer sustainable packaging on its whole range of products.