In 1981, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched its first "in-house" pet food line, Ol' Roy Dog Food. Now, more than 30 years later, Ol' Roy features a wide range of wet and dry food products and has become the best-selling brand of dog food in the United States.
The Ol' Roy brand of dog food was created in 1981 by Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. According to the Wal-Mart website, Walton named the brand "Ol' Roy" in honor of his beloved hunting dog. As the New York Times reports, Ol' Roy was marketed originally as a private label brand and, to this day, is available only from Wal-Mart stores or via the Wal-Mart website.
Ol' Roy products include wet, dry and moist dog food. Products are packaged in bags, cans and plastic containers and are sold individually or in multi-packs. The line features standard dog food in a variety of flavors and blends, as well as such specialty items as Puppy Complete, Complete Nutrition, Skin and Coat Formula and Healthy Mix Weight Management.
Snacks and Treats
In addition to foods designed for "main meals," Ol' Roy also offers a large selection of canine snacks and treats. The Wal-Mart website describes more than a dozen snack and treat varieties, including Krunchy Bites & Bones, Special T's Dog Treats, Jerky Strips, Bark 'N Bac'n, Snack Sticks and biscuits in flavors like beef, lamb and rice, milk and even peanut butter.
Bulk Sizes and Packs
Wal-Mart, of course, is famous for bulk products. In keeping with this approach, large bags of dry and moist Ol' Roy dog foods, as well as Ol' Roy snacks and treats, are available in Wal-Mart stores. Also available are bulk "packs" of Ol' Roy canned dog food in single or assorted flavors.
On Aug. 14, 2012, Wal-Mart announced a new dog food brand called Pure Balance, described by the company as its "first ultra premium dry dog food." According to the Aug. 14 press release, Pure Balance is produced without soy, wheat or corn "additives" and contains no artificial colors, preservatives or chicken byproducts. Like Ol' Roy, Pure Balance is available exclusively in Wal-Mart stores and through the Wal-Mart website.
Jeff Katz has been a professional librarian, educator, historian, writer and editor for almost 20 years. He holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia and a BA degree in Classical Studies from Hunter College of the City University of New York.