Ryan Black and Chris Lee, founders of Buddy Bites, introduce Hive Life to their up and coming subscription dog food delivery company with a philanthropic angle.
Demand for pet services is changing – and savvy owners are developing a greater interest in nutrition, sustainability, and convenience for their beloved furry family members. Responding to these needs is Buddy Bites, a subscription-based dog food delivery company based out of Hong Kong, which was launched by two self-confessed dog lovers Ryan Black and Christopher Lee.
Founded earlier this year, Buddy Bites delivers high-quality dog food straight to your doorstep. What’s more, the firm has a philanthropic mission – Chris, having adopted his dogs from his local dog rescue shelter, Catherine’s Puppies, decided to give back by donating half of every Buddy Bites order to their dog shelter partners.
We sat down with the founders of Buddy Bites to discuss their unique vision for the company, as well as their thoughts on the future of the pet tech industry.
Can you please share the motivation behind Buddy Bites and its subscription-based model?
Chris: We were constantly forgetting to top up on dog food, so we would have to scour and scrape the shelves of convenience stores to feed them. We see the subscription model as a great way for people to come to us, order say six kilogrammes every four weeks, then we deliver to the door month-after-month. Especially because we live in a very busy, hundred-mile-an-hour city, with our service you can at least take one thing off your to-do list.
What, in your opinion, distinguishes Buddy Bites from other dog food delivery services?
Ryan: First and foremost is the charity/corporate social responsibility (CSR) aspect. The core of the company is to feed all shelter dogs in Hong Kong. We’re giving people an opportunity to give back while doing what they would do anyway. So far, we’re about 50% of our way to feeding Catherine’s Puppies on a month-by-month basis free, and we’ve already been approached by another shelter.
You partnered with a vet to develop a bespoke kibble. Can you talk us through how you prioritised product ingredients (quality) and taste?
Ryan: In terms of the first product, we just went for something that is high quality, the right protein base, and something that would be applicable to a good portion of the market. We work with a vet who is very experienced and settled with duck as our main protein (primarily because of allergenic properties) and it’s been incredibly well-received.
Chris: We opted for a one-size-fits-all recipe because we’ve partnered with a shelter, and the dogs there are of various breeds. If we were too specific with the product we’d be undermining the core of our business.
How do you think the pet tech industry will evolve?
Chris: I imagine apps are going to take over. We discussed having an app. For now, most people browse through apps then order through their laptop for online purchases. But as mobile-first designs get more and more advanced, apps will become more sophisticated and user-friendly. We’d love to have that at some point.
Ryan: We see private equity companies tapping into the pet industry because it is booming in Asia, particularly in pet adoption. There’s also the implementation of health options. What you’re seeing for humans, such as tracking various biometrics, tracking calories; it will be adopted for dogs as well when the technology is there.
Chris: The next thing that we will be looking to do is launching a vegetarian kibble and we’re looking to partner with other shelters as well. Hong Kong will remain our focus next year but if things continue at the same rate, we wouldn’t rule out having conversations with maybe Singapore.
Ryan: Our business is quite forecastable so opportunities for expansion will present itself. What we have to bear in mind is that if we were to organically scale, it has to be within reason so we won’t risk diluting the provision we give to shelters. Supporting shelters is invariably our number one priority and if the opportunity aligns with our goal, then we will definitely look into it.
More about Buddy Bites
Established in 2020, Buddy Bites is dedicated to providing convenience by delivering vet-approved nutritious dog food to your doorstep. It is built on an e-commerce model with the intention of making its subscription service user-friendly and accessible. For Buddy Bites, the goal, ultimately, is to give back to dog shelters in Hong Kong. To support this initiative, be sure to order online and follow them on Instagram.