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Organically tending to your four-legged friends

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When a pet shop owner names his store after the Great Dane he grew up with, you know there’s an unconditional love for animals behind the decision that communicates wellbeing.

Nabucco’s relatively new store in the heart of Nicosia underlines this notion from the moment you step through its door. And if that wasn’t enough, the importance it places on the environment is equally as clear.

In October last year, drawing on his experience in frozen meat exports, Nabucco owner and manager Geoffrey Serrurier decided to open one of Cyprus’ only organic pet food shops because, as he says, organic pet food is highly regarded in Europe, and such an outlet didn’t exist on the island.

Serrurier’s long experience in providing raw meat to pet food companies in Europe positioned him ideally for the endeavour. He was already in touch with his future providers and knew how the organic retail market worked.

“Generally, organic meat stays locally, but afterwards, you have specific cuts or leftovers that need to go to specific sales channels, like the beef hearts, beef trimmings or small pieces of chicken that aren’t used for human consumption,” explains Serrurier.All edible products go to normal retail areas for organic food, but all the rest needs to be valued in another way.”

The store itself reflects the world, with a brown, earthy-looking floor, while the ceiling is painted sky blue.

All the store’s organic products are sourced from certified producers and pioneers in organic pet food in Europe. Once at Nabucco, you’ll realise everything on offer provides the best for cat and dog nutrition, all while tending to a circular economy and maintaining environmentally-friendly practices.

You’ll find dry food and quibbles, wet food and treats, pâté and snacks, as you would, perhaps, in any other pet food store. Yet what stands out is the variety of ingredients and their specifications. Just as an idea, you’ll find vegan food for dogs, and, if not 100 per cent vegan, their selection ensures that the vitamin included derives not from the animal itself, but its wool. Generally, everything in-store is based on homemade recipes with organic and natural ingredients.

As Serrurier attests, Nabucco is about providing an alternative to people who would like to try something different and make an effort towards the future of our environment. With flavours such as Goat with Beetroot and Millet, Organic Goose with Spinach and Potato and Salmon with Apricot to name but a few, it’s exciting to be able to shop to delight your pet’s palate, all while being made aware of the products’ manufacturing process and the recyclability of their packaging. Even organic cat litter is available and suitable for composting for those who want to take it a step further.

As a result, and just like humans, eating well means seeing a difference in a pet’s fur, the conquering of allergies (chemicals in additives included in non-organic foodstuffs are removed), and, most importantly, perhaps, the whetting of their appetite.

It’s quite an experience to talk about CO2 emissions and the circular economy as you shop for your pet; indeed, I’ve never had this kind of shopping experience while food shopping for my own cat – it’s really inspiring. And just as I feel I may be discouraged by the price, Serrurier sets me right.

“Organic is a completely different supply chain, it’s less sensitive to price increases,” he explains, “and there’s not such a big difference with other conventional pet food.

“(Conventional) pet food is empty protein, your dog may believe it’s full when it’s eating, but actually it doesn’t provide enough protein. With organic food, animals eat less, they have fewer medical issues because they eat a variety of ingredients including vegetables, and you therefore have less visits to the vet.”

To add to the financial side of things, “clients are very happy to see their pets enjoy and eat their food”, he concludes.

The customer experience is more vivid as well. “If you know that it helps, give more zucchini to a pet who has kidney issues; our wet food with zucchini is ideal,” explains Serrurier.

So, when shopping here, health matters, and preferences in terms of different tastes and your pet’s general relationship to food is prime. “The concept of feeding your dog is exactly the same to feeding your kids.”

As for the accessories found in-store, they’re either made from recycled materials, produced by remote communities or created simply from organic materials. The cat and dog beds stand out as they’re constructed from recycled plastic bottles, with 10 per cent of profits given to the Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association, while collars and leashes are made from remains of leather and dried apple skin.

Everything on sale seems to have an inspiring origin story – even the cosmetic line for cats and dogs takes into consideration the hot Cyprus weather’s impact on pets’ paws. Any way you look at it, once you’ve walked into Nabucco there’s something to gain, something to learn and something to purr about!

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