A desire to feed their own working dogs top-quality pet food brought about the formation of Ultimate Feeds Ltd, which today supplies premium New Zealand-made dog food under the Ultra brand to discerning pet owners throughout the country.
Ultimate Feeds Ltd was formed in 2000 by Peter and Josie Stables.
Based in Swanson Road, Henderson, the company offers a complete, fully balanced diet for puppies, active working dogs, adult dogs and dogs with sensitive dietary requirements.
The Stables family began manufacturing dog food in an effort to meet their own dogs’ requirements.
“We’ve been breeding Alaskan malamutes for over 30 years under the Hootalinqua kennel name,” Peter says.
“We not only show them, we work them as well pulling heavy freight. We race and compete with them within New Zealand in forests in the North Island and on the snow in the South Island.”
The Stables family purchased some existing plant from a dog food manufacturer in Napier and began production.
In the early days Hootalinqua was sponsored by a USA company, whose product was retailing at over NZ$120 a bag, although it could be purchased in America for less than US$40, (NZ$71 inc GST).
“There was a huge difference in price because of import, customs and biosecurity charges,” Peter says.
They soon realised they could compete on the raw material price but could keep their prices considerably lower than imported pet foods because of the savings made in other areas.
High-quality pet food
Ultimate Feeds Ltd prides itself on manufacturing a premium dog food.
“A premium dog food sources the majority of proteins from animal products, and the formula never changes, unlike some ‘complete’ foods,” Peter says.
Ultra brand dog food is manufactured in New Zealand using only New Zealand sourced raw materials, wherever possible from the human food chain, meaning the cost is cheaper than the equivalent imported brands.
“Any food begins to deteriorate after you expose it to air. Our product can be in the retailer’s hands within two or three days of manufacturing. If it’s fresher, it’s got to be better.”
All the company’s products are extruded, rather than baked, meaning there is a minimum loss of nutrients and vitamins due to the short cooking time.
“One of the reasons we insist on using only the best raw materials is that we have to have good food for our own dogs,” Peter says.
An example of which is that Ultra range uses only chelated minerals, not oxides or sulphates.
“We find with our food we get a better performance from our dogs than when they’ve had home-made raw foods.”
The Ultimate Feeds Ltd formulae are developed by pet food nutritionist Jenny Anderson in conjunction with Dr Nick Cave of Massey University, to ensure that they meet the highest internationally recognised specifications.
All foods are made with New Zealand sourced ingredients and are naturally preserved with rosemary, vitamins C & E and citric acid, with no artificial colours or flavours included.
They are enriched with omega 3, omega 6, garlic, kelp and rosemary for a shiny healthy coat and strong immune system.
Range of pet food products
Ultra Pet Foods offers a range of five different premium dog foods.
Ultra Adult is a full maintenance feed for adult dogs, Ultra Active is a high-energy formula suited for working or high-performance dogs, Ultra Puppy is an essential growth formula for young dogs, while Ultra Fish and Rice formula has been developed for dogs with food allergy and sensitivity issues, and a grain free range Fish & Potato.
Ultra brand products have a high digestibility rate, resulting in less waste, and a constant level of protein and vitamins. Cheaper brands of food tend to have cheaper cuts of meat and more fillers.
Customers can purchase Ultra brand products online or through a distributor in their area. “We deliver our products to your door – you make a phone call, and we deliver it,” Peter says.
“We sell bags from 1kg up to 20kg, which is the most economical way of purchasing it. Most people go with the 20kg bag, which generally lasts an average dog six or seven weeks.”
Ultra Pet Foods’ business is growing, with a 30 percent increase in sales last year and an equivalent growth anticipated this year.
“Everybody has pets and even with the shortage of money at the moment many people still want to feed them premium food. Our food is still the cheapest because we don’t have the add-on costs of importing. It’s not hard to see where the savings come from,” Peter says.
“There’s a growing awareness of the importance of feeding dogs good-quality food. Our motto is to produce a high-quality food at a realistic price.”