Heaven and Hell: Stephen Salter of Salters Pet Nutrition

Stephen Salter, co-founder of Saxmundham-based Salters Pet Nutrition and his golden retriever

Stephen Salter, co-founder of Saxmundham-based Salters Pet Nutrition - Credit: Sean Humfrey

Stephen Salter is very proud to be born and bred in Suffolk, coming from a family of butchers, farmers and fisherman.

With a desire to produce a healthy food for dogs, he co-founded Salters Pet Nutrition with Roger Skinner 23 years ago, in Saxmundham, where they are based.

Stephen is a butcher by trade, as was his father and grandfather.

He had a passion to produce something special for dogs, using pure ingredients that we eat.

Dogs are true loyal companions, which has become so evident in these unprecedented times over the last year, especially for those who live alone.

What’s the impact of Covid-19 and how are you adapting?
We have faced many challenges in these unprecedented times ranging from supply and demand issues, panic purchasing, uncertainty and safety requirements around deliveries and collections.  

It is difficult to plan ahead and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding Covid-19.

There has been a definite rise in puppy and new dog ownership which has resulted in greater demand for our personal service and advice on feeding which we are always happy to give.  

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Safety during this pandemic has been our priority along with reassuring our customers about an uninterrupted supply.  

As with any business, it is always a team effort and we are so grateful for the good people around us.

What advice can you give to our readers?
In these current times be safe, be patient and be neighbourly and, of course, look after your dog.

What is your connection to East Anglia?
I come from a long line of Suffolk heritage of fishermen, farmers and butchers, all based in the Aldeburgh area.

What is your East Anglian Heaven?
Aldeburgh has always had a draw for me primarily because of my family history but given its diversity, it is an incredibly special place to live.

It is rich in natural beauty, the arts and steeped in history.

It has a great sense of peace on the one hand with its coastal and river walks, heathlands, woodlands, bird reserves and all the associated activities as well as theatre, cinema, carnivals, literary festivals to name but a few which draw people from far and wide.

The influx of visitors over the generations has contributed greatly to the local economy.

What is your East Anglian Hell?
With popularity comes congestion on the roads and rail particularly in the summer months.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?
The Aldeburgh Martello Tower (built during the Napoleonic War) given its history and its position situated against a backdrop of an ever-increasing shingle spit that continues to divert the mouth of the River Alde into the North Sea.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
The buzz and tradition of the August Aldeburgh carnival where thousands of people join in and line the streets.  

A full day of events ends with a mystical lantern procession and firework display.  I just love bumping into people I may not have seen in years.   

What’s your specialist Mastermind subject?
Travel and exploration off the beaten track.

What is always in your fridge?
Wine, chipolatas, real butter and out of date hummus.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?
Without a customer, you do not have a business. Always be fair and honest.

What’s your favourite film?
The Great Escape.

What was your first job?
A sales clerk at Richard Garrett (Engineering Works) based in Leiston.

What is your most treasured possession?
A pocket watch gifted to me by a dear family friend made by a Norfolk clockmaker who supposedly never made a pocket watch according to a curator at Norwich Castle Museum.

Stephen Salter

Stephen Salter is a butcher by trade - Credit: Sean Humfrey

Who do you admire most?
My respect and admiration lie with all frontline and key workers who continue to make great personal sacrifices for all of us. We can never thank them enough.

What is your biggest indulgence?
I love the banter and entertaining my friends. 

What do you like about yourself most?
Loyalty to my true friends.

What’s your worst character trait?
Impatience according to others.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere along the shores of the Campbell River, Vancouver Island.

Best day of your life?
Without a doubt the birth of my daughter, my only child.

What’s your favourite breakfast?
With friends, it must be eggs benedict, hash browns and devilled kidneys.

What’s your favourite tipple?
Cloudy Bay and an odd pint or two of the ‘Liffey’ water.

What’s your hidden talent?
Unfortunately, it is so well hidden even I cannot find it.

What’s your earliest memory?
Being outside sitting with my father and our devoted family Golden Retriever Lassie.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?
I have a rust bucket of a JCB and it’s my happy place.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
Being turned away at the last hurdle for my hip replacement after being told I had to lose yet more weight.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?
I lived abroad for 10 years and came back to my Suffolk roots and found life’s balance.

What do you want to tell our readers about most? 
Be fair and care for your dogs.  

As you are the one that fills the bowl think about what you are feeding them and make a truly informed choice.

We are always at the end of the phone and happy to discuss.

At the end of the day, we have a question – ‘do you like your dog or love your dog’?

For more information visit salterspetfood.com/

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