Blue Buffalo IPO predicted to be a big flat flop, bad press and bad food to blame

Blue’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) is set to be the biggest deal and the biggest flop on Wall Street this July. The problem with Blue Buffalo is, they just can’t seem to stop bullshitting consumers and potential investors that their food is all that when the Buff is actually all fluff.

Blue Buffalo emphasizes in its advertising and in its SEC report that it doesn’t use chicken or poultry by-products, which are inedible poultry parts like eggshells or intestines processed into pet food.

But, those boastful claims came back to bite them in the ass when the company was forced to admit last month in a lawsuit with Purina that “a ‘substantial’ and ‘material’ portion of Blue Buffalo pet food sold to consumers contained poultry by-product meal.”

Blue’s niche was that they claimed their food was better than the plain-old, run-of-the-mill pet food brands like Purina on the market, but when Nestle-Purina had Blue Buffalo’s pet food tested – guess what they found.

It turns out – that their food was not niche or natural after all. And that, pissed-off not only Purina, but also all the pet parents who believed their marketing bull. So, Purina sued Blue Buffalo for false advertising and so did allot of pet parents.

Incredibly, right in the middle of this epic battle between Blue Buffalo and Purina, which played out in the glaring eye of the media, Blue Buffalo applies for a NASDAQ listing under the ticker BUFF.

Of the upcoming IPOs for July, BUFF is the largest deal. Its IPO deal size is over $500 million, which would immediately place BUFF in the large-cap category. The price range for a share of BUFF when it hits the market is $16 to $18.

But, investors probably won’t be buying into it, because word travels fast if your product isn’t what you advertise it to be. A market analyst blasts Blue, by saying:

…when BUFF lies to their customers and tries to conceal that their one unique selling proposition is a farce, they are likely to lose the customers that would otherwise have been lifetime customers.

In marketing, word-of-mouth is the largest influencer. Blue Buffalo is going to have to scramble fast to try to repair its rumpled image, before they can expect to grow, and not continue to lose, their customer base.

Blue Buffalo is all about image – not price or convenience, and if investors think consumers aren’t buying Blue’s bull, then it will affect their share price. One analyst predicts that Blue’s share price will tank, falling $17 to $8 by 2017.

The battle against negative word-of-mouth will be a torturous uphill climb for Blue Buffalo, because attempts to repair their image will have less effect over time, negative word-of-mouth will snowball.

And with customers suing Blue Buffalo left and right and using social media to voice their complaints directly to potential and current customers, Blue Buffalo hasn’t a hope in Hell of ever recovering their, once stellar, reputation.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (7) Write a comment

  1. I have written Blue Buffalo several times about the content of their dog food. We bought a big bag and a small bag of the same dog food: Basics Limited Ingredients, Turkey & Potato, with Life Source Bits. The contents of each bag were different. We took pictures and sent it to them. You could see the difference. The answers I got back were unbelieveable. The last email referred me to the little Life Source bits they add.

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  2. My dog and cat eat Blue and no problems.What’s my guarantee the next brand isn’t lcheating as well?

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    • That’s exactly why I don’t review or rate pet foods. There are no guarantees. It helps to look at a company’s history, their ethics, and what their reputation is. If it’s solid, then you have some assurance that they may be better than most. Ideally, you should choose a company that has verifiable human-food ingredients and they are made in a human-food facility, try to use mostly certified organic ingredients, and Animal Welfare Approved meat and/or poultry, have solid animal welfare policy and are socially and environmentally responsible. And find out if they make their own food or outsource their manufacturing. Those companies are as rare as hen’s teeth. Do your research. And then do some more research. Finally, never, ever assume that their advertising is truthful, often it is misleading. Fraud abounds in the pet food market.

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  3. I hear they’re launching a prescription diet line. They were apparently at the AVMA and were very secretive about the line there. I guess it has the life source bits in it, just as the rest of their line does. Some of the vets there were worried about dogs not eating those. Interesting timing.

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  4. I am all about owning your mistakes but when you try to past the buck, that is unacceptable. I was a loyal Blue Buffalo fan until I read what they had done. They should have accepted responsibility and made it right with their customers. I switched to Origen. Blue Buffalo can kiss my ass. Always talk with your wallet. Then and only then will you have their undivided attention. I still see those same BS ads on TV.

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    • Beware that Origen switched from a natural food preservative to ETHOXYQUIN, in the fish kibble in North America – I’d rather cook my own dogs food! I just can’t trust Any dog food these days. When I went raw with my dog when he was 3, after feeding Origen – his coat became so soft and he is now 14 and still runs and plays like a pup! Good luck

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