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To stay on the top of the kibble heap, petfood companies have been responding to consumers with new formulations, packaging and facilities focused on nutrition and safety.
On December 10, 2012

Unveiling innovation: Petfood companies get growing in 2012

New partnerships, facilities and initiatives from petfood leaders around the world

The top petfood companies around the globe aren't just pulling in impressive figures and extended space on retail shelves. Industry giants are constantly innovating by breaking new ground for facilities, expanding the market with new products and ingredients, and building business partnerships that strengthen investments. Find out just what industry leaders are doing to keep their businesses growing and other newsworthy accomplishments of the past year, here!

  • Nestlé Purina has made a series of investment announcements in the past year. The company has invested US$15 million in the construction of a new training facility at its St. Louis, Missouri, headquarters to allow more of its 17,500 employees around the globe to receive training. In Argentina, the company continued a massive expansion of its Santo Tomé factory, increasing production by 50% and adding 250 direct and indirect jobs by creating a third production line, two new packaging lines, new production technologies, additional storage capacity for raw materials and improved ingredient-mixing facilities. Additional investment announcements in 2012 include upgrades to the company's factories in Australia and Hungary. In late 2011, Nestlé Purina PetCare announced a US$48 million investment in a Vorsino, Russia, wet petfood production facility.
  • Ohio Pet Foods, which specializes in custom formulation and private label petfood, has been rapidly expanding its reach. It purchased Blackwood Pet Food in 2011, and followed that acquisition in 2012 with the takeover of the former Chenango Valley manufacturing facility.
  • Mars Petcare and The Nutro Company broke ground on a US$87 million world-class Regional Innovation Center in Thompson's Station, Tennesse, in May 2012. The four-building, 90-acre campus will be the companies' home base for creating future pet care product innovations for its North American market. The center will be designed to achieve Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Building Council. Construction has begun on the four buildings after the groundbreaking and completion is expected in spring 2014. The new center will support 144 jobs. Each building on the Regional Innovation Center campus is unique and serves a different purpose in the life-cycle of creating new and innovative petfood products, according to Mars. Buildings will include an innovation center building, product development center, shared services building and the pet health and nutrition center, largely based on the unique and groundbreaking The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom.
  • C & D Foods is a private label manufacturer based in Ireland with additional manufacturing plants in the UK and the Netherlands, the latter having been acquired from Nestlé in 2010. In 2012, C & D acquired Arovit Petfood, becoming the second-largest private label operator in Western Europe. Philip Reynolds, chief executive of C & D Foods, said the deal would give the enlarged company turnover of about €320 million in 2012. Reynolds went on to say the merged business would now rank behind Saturn Pet Foods as the second-biggest private label manufacturer of petfoods. Arovit’s product range complements C & D’s and includes cans, pouches, alutrays, dry food and treats. It produces 250,000 tons of product annually and has a turnover of €200 million.
  • WellPet, a premium petfood company focusing on the natural petfood market, has been undergoing a US$20 million expansion project at its one manufacturing plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, which increased the size of the facility to 150,000 square feet. This expansion project nearly doubled its size in terms of both people and space at the petfood maker's plant at the end of 2012. The company began construction on a 67,946-square-foot facility in its location, which will serve as a warehouse/distribution center, according to Steve Griswold, director of plant operations. The addition will double production capacity to 80,000 tons of dry petfood a year, according to WellPet. The company also said it planned to add a total of 45 new employees by the time the project was completed. The cost of the entire project was estimated at US$20 million, WellPet said.
  • Continentale Nutrition has its own brand of petfood and also manufactures products for other petfood companies. In July 2012, investment firms AgroInvest and IDIA Participations announced a US$23.4 million purchase to acquire a joint stake in the company.
  • Hill's Pet Nutrition operates four manufacturing plants in the U.S., one in the Netherlands and one in the Czech Republic, but it wasn't their facilities the company changed or added to this year. Hill’s announced in late 2012 that it will reformulate its complete line of Science Diet dog and cat foods to add more natural ingredients. The company made the decision to reformulate the Science Diet petfoods because some consumers were making product choices based primarily on a set criteria for ingredients, rather than the overall promise of nutrition and clinical research. Along with the new formulation, Hill’s introduced new packaging designs, as well as new color-coded product groupings under Life Stage, Life Style and Life Care, which make it easier for pet owners to select the right food for their pet. Hill’s began shipping the new petfood formulations to specialty pet stores and veterinarians in December.
  • Canidae Corp. is a small, family-owned U.S. petfood manufacturer. In March 2012, the company purchased its first manufacturing facility, a Texas plant now called Ethos Pet Nutrition. Canidae has completely renovated the plant into a highly innovative. Part of this commitment was the construction of two quality assurance laboratories. The Ethos quality assurance laboratories are set up using some of Neogen Corporation’s newest food safety technology, including Reveal Q+ and Veratox tests for mycotoxins, AccuPoint ATP Sanitation Monitoring System, Soleris System for Enterobacteriaceae testing, and ANSR Salmonella Test.
  • Fromm Family Foods' sales have increased tenfold since 2001, leading to a US$10 million investment to cover the newly built state-of-the-art facility in Columbus, Wisconsin, to keep up with consumer demand and allow for further expansion in the future. A fully commissioned warehouse expansion was unveiled and opened in February 2012.
  • Merrick Pet Care purchased Castor & Pollux in April 2012. Both companies focus on natural and organic ingredients. This year the newly joined company received organic certification from US Department of Agriculture for its manufacturing kitchens and also introduced a completely reformulated product line as part of its Doggupy movement.

Check out our Top Company Database

Our new Top Company Database not only includes important, hard-to-find facts and figures, but it also includes descriptions of a plethora of petfood companies, including what innovative initiatives the companies are taking on currently and in the near future. Visit www.petfoodindustry.com and get your search on!

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