Sunday night’s episode of Dragons’ Den saw husband and wife duo, Mike and Zena Deane, secure £50,000 to scale their organic dried vegetable dog treats business, Huxley Hound.
Both of the new dragons Jenny Campbell and Tej Lalvani were taken in by their pitch, which offers snacks for pets in a UK market valued at £434 million. 49 per cent of all 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK are classed as overweight by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), and the Surrey based start-up is on a mission to get the nation’s podgy pooches in shape.
According to co-founder Zena Deane, every year over 100,000 tonnes of dog treats are sold in the UK and around 70 per cent of those are some sort of processed meat or a biscuit. “We wanted to create an alternative choice for health-conscious dog owners who are looking for high quality products for their best friend.”
The Deanes eventually accepted Campbell’s offer, and will be using the funding to boost their business further.“The RCVS has cited the growing obesity epidemic as the biggest single risk to canine health, and Zena and I believe that this is the perfect time to scale an ethical, low fat, healthy treat business both within the UK and export markets,” says Mike Deane.
The start-up came about when the Deanes grew increasingly frustrated by the lack of innovation in the dog treats sector. They started to make their own dog snacks for their miniature dachshunds Huxley and Rolo with a single dehydrator machine in their own kitchen. After a trial on their friends’ dogs, the duo tested their treats with over 600 testers across 72 breeds.
From that one dehydrator to a factory in Guilford, the duo now work with organic growers ensuring a clean production line that allows them to trace all of their snacks back to the precise date and location of harvest. The current ‘Better than Raw’ range of low-fat snacks include organic dried parsnip, sweet potato, carrot and beetroot.