Posts Tagged ‘Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic’


Best New Pet Products NAVC 2013

posted by Jackie Bay

Trade shows are the best places for a pet marketer to find out what is new and noteworthy amongst new pet products.  This years’ NAVC was no exception.  I had the pleasure of attending the show last week and wanted to highlight the new pet product that I thought was the most innovative and newsworthy – Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic.

Although I, like others, have some misgivings about Hills pet food ingredient/value equation, this product really stood out amongst the others at the show.

It could have been the dominating house structure which signaled that Hills meant business, but honestly, it was the introduction of what felt like real innovation that addresses a key need – pet obesity.  Booth attendees were literally ushered into a living room environment in which a spunky veterinarian showed them a video and talked about why Hills Metabolic is such an outstanding new product.



5 Compelling reasons why new Hills Science Diet Metabolic might just be one of the best new pet products of 2013. 


#1 Hills Science Diet Metabolic has proven efficacy.

After two month in in-home trials, 96% of dogs and 81% of cats lost weight.  On average, pets had a 28% body fat loss during the same time period.  Hills Metabolic works to actually “change the overweight animal’s metabolism so that it acts more like the metabolism of a lean animal.”  Also of note, the products are “clinically proven to avoid weigh regain, almost sounds too good to be true.  According the the Mayo Clinic website I looked at, this isn’t really possible but I’m not going to get into that argument.  Hills appears to have the results to back those claims and from a marketing standpoint, this introduction appears to bring real science into a category that has seen very little of late.


#2 Hills Science Diet Metabolic is the first weight loss product proven to work at home.

Hills conducted a blinded feeding study in home with 314 animals.  Importantly, the owners thought they were enrolling in a body condition test and no change in exercise was recommended.  As a market researcher, I was particularly interested in this point.  I spoke to the Marketing Director who told me that they had never validated a product like this before because of the time and expense.  They ultimately went this route because it was the “only way to know what you are going to get.”  This point is validated by a later lecture I attended by Dr. Bourdeau about flea biology.  According to his research, spot on flea and tick products that contain fipronil are not becoming less effective as widely believed.  He has found that the perceived efficacy problem stems from the difficulty of applying the product properly.  Key finding:  What works in the lab doesn’t always work at home.  I think more animal health companies should be putting their products through a real life test drive like Metabolic.

#3 Metabolic is not a traditional diet that succeeds through abstinence.

Metabolic is not low calorie, low fat or low carbohydrates.  According to Hills, the pet feels satiated after a meal.  Owners were not instructed to measure and portion control.  Importantly, and very strategically,  there is no need to transition a pet back to normal food when the diet is over.  We all know that this is the point in all diets where things go astray.  People and pets who revert to earlier habits re-gain the weight.  Hills recommends that owners leave their pets on Metabolic when they have achieved the results they want and that they actually increase the amount fed.  Nice long-term revenue stream.

#4 Success requires no change in feeding or exercise behavior.

Find a human weight loss product that does not require a change in behavior and you will have found yourself the golden goose.  According to Hills, Metabolic is not a diet food that leaves animals feeling unsatisfied – it actually controls appetite.  Even more importunely, it doesn’t require a change in lifestyle to be effective.  That latter piece is critical because we know that changing a dog’s lifestyle requires changing a human’s lifestyle.  No easy task.  This product produced results within the constraints of real life and comes in 3 forms to fit all feeding needs:  dry, canned and treats.

#5 Marketing materials include a good use of mobile technology to determine ideal weight.

Hills has developed an expanded body fat index chart that is purported to be more accurate than the traditional Body Conditioning Score.  Owners take 4 measurements of their pet’s body and plug them into a new Hills Metabolic App to determine their pet’s ideal body weight.


This product sells at a 15% premium to regular r/d but I predict that that will not slow it down.  Unfortunately, it seems to be somewhat less successful with cats apparently due to palatability,  and perhaps the inherent difficulty of cats.  Viva la fat cat!

Thanks for reading – catch February’s post for a review of new flea and tick news.




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