(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)
One thing that’s very important in business is demonstrating faith in your own products. That’s why you’ll see auto dealers only driving the cars they sell. Or accountants using their own firm’s specialists to do their taxes. It’s called eating the dog food. But what happens if your company actually sells dog food? Well, I guess you eat that, too. That’s what Mitch Felderhoff has been doing.
For the past month Felderhoff, who is a co-owner with his brother of Muenster Milling Co, a fourth-generation family business that makes pet foods in Texas, has been eating nothing else but his company’s products and, yes, that means dog food.
“Well, it’s a little naive to say I want to [eat dog food] for 30 days,” he admitted in the first of a series of videos documenting his journey on the company’s YouTube page. “But we want to prove that we believe in what we do.”
What Felderhoff’s company does is manufacture all-natural pet food using chicken, beef, elk and venison that uses locally sourced ingredients. Felderhoff contends that his products are not only good for pets, but are good for humans too. He even got the approval from his wife and doctor before he began munching on kibbles and making meals from this company’s freeze-dried dog foods, which he started doing in the beginning of January and finished just this past week.
“For two years, I have toyed with the idea of eating our dog food for a month,” he wrote on his company’s blog. “Not just as an advertising bit…. far from it. I want people to know that we are so passionate about what we do, that we’ll do anything we can to make sure we’re providing the best food possible for their dog, so much so, that we’ll even eat it ourselves.”
Sure, Felderhoff is doing this for good reasons, like raising the awareness of animal obesity and promoting pet adoption. And, as he admitted to the Houston Chronicle, his products are not exactly fine cuisine for the human palate. “Dog food is not easy to eat,” he said. “It tastes like it smells. One of the things I did that was key is that I did do some intermittent fasting.”
But make no mistake, his company has received plenty of attention because of Felderhoff’s new diet. He’s appeared on local TV and radio and been featured in a number of articles (including this one). And the videos on his YouTube page are professionally produced, which I’m sure wasn’t cheap. So yes, marketing is definitely a big reason why he’s doing this and there was definitely a plan in place to promote his journey.
And why not? Felderhoff’s title is president of sales, after all. So here’s someone who’s taking his job seriously. And I do believe that he believes in his product. So good for him.
But now it’s all over. Felderhoff has eaten dog food for 30 days and in the process lost 30 pounds while also helping 30 dogs to get adopted from a local shelter (I’m still waiting for the final video). So what was his first official “human” meal? Pulled pork nachos and stuffed jalapeños. Did you forget he was also a Texan?