Pet food maker Freshpet creates jobs with opening of local plant

Posted: 5:11 PM EDT Oct 29, 2013   Updated: 6:24 PM EDT Oct 29, 2013

You want the best for your pets, and that means feeding them well.

A pet food company with a new location in the Lehigh Valley is offering a different approach to how animals eat.

"We're the only plant in the world, actually, that makes fresh food, all natural for dogs and cats that has no preservatives," said Richard Thompson, the CEO of Freshpet.

The company held a grand opening ceremony at its new Freshpet Kitchens location in Hanover Twp., Northampton Co., Tuesday afternoon. Several people, some with dogs, attended the event, and dogs sampled Freshpet products. Freshpet's headquarters are in Secaucus, N.J.

"If you go to the store and buy fresh steaks and whatever food, you put it in the refrigerator, right? That's the same thing you have to do with Freshpet," said Thompson, who had his own dog with him. "You just can't leave it sitting out for hours and in the sunshine and expect it to be good."

The company moved the plant from Quakertown, Bucks Co. There are 125 jobs currently and hopes of expanding next year. Freshpet products are available in several stores including BJ's, Giant, Weis, Redner's, Petco and Target.

"A lot of foods, because of ingredients or they're trying to get lower prices, make things outside the country and have been very questionable so we just want the public to know we make everything here locally in Pennsylvania with mostly local ingredients," said Thompson.

Just like with human food, safety is key. The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed a rule that would make animal food safer.

"We're already way, way past that," said Thompson. "It's all stainless and steel equipment. It's all brand new, human grade. Making food that's fresh with no preservative that's all natural for dogs and cats, we just see a huge improvement on the dog or cat's life."