Natural Balance, a national pet specialty premium food brand, is poised for innovation and growth in the rapidly expanding pet specialty food space following its recent acquisition by Nexus Capital Management LP from The J.M. Smucker Co. While reinforcing its commitment to core product lines and safe, healthy foods beloved by U.S. pet lovers, the company’s research, development and product innovation teams also envision a robust pipeline of new specialty products for consumers under the Natural Balance brand.
Pet industry veteran Brian Connolly has joined Natural Balance as CEO. Connolly has deep experience in the pet specialty marketplace, including Merrick Pet Care and Castor & Pollux and is an investor in the new business. In conjunction with the acquisition from The J.M. Smucker Co, Natural Balance retains the brand assets, operational resources and over 40 employees dedicated solely to the newly independent company. Production of existing product lines and servicing of existing retail accounts continues uninterrupted.
“We acquired Natural Balance because we recognize the brand’s untapped potential. We see opportunity – and we see brand equity,” said Connolly. “We intend to embrace innovation – driving a well-defined strategy that leverages the best of our current Natural Balance branded foods, even as we create new specialty products for pet consumers.”
Securing a strong leadership team with relevant experience was a priority for the business. Joining Connolly on the Natural Balance executive team is Chief Revenue Officer John Sturm, who held a similar role with Petco and will lead sales, marketing and new product initiatives. The new management team is complemented by a strong group of legacy Natural Balance employees who underpin the new company’s commitment to its past and excitement for its future.
Maintaining Core Business
Natural Balance will continue to rely on its existing network of business partners, pet specialty retailers, distributors and supply chain providers to maintain the stability of the business and drive sales within current product lines. A dedicated research and development team will build a deep pipeline of new specialty products under the brand.
“Our team is fully embracing what makes Natural Balance® stand out among other brands, even as we work on the introduction of new products that will grow our business,” said Connolly. “Our Feed with Confidence® program and our firm commitment to stringent food safety testing will continue to be our focus, and with it our dedication to transparency and traceability.”
Focusing on Food Quality, Safety and Pet Well-Being
Leaning into the Natural Balance legacy of pet health and well-being is integral to the company’s strategy. Originally founded by actor Dick Van Patten, the brand has been a leader in providing sought-after LID Limited Ingredient Diet® products purposefully crafted with simplified recipes to reduce the number of ingredients and varied protein sources in the food. The business’ transparency and traceability program, Feed with Confidence, is unmatched in the pet specialty space and assures comprehensive testing of the pet foods produced by third-party, accredited labs.
All Natural Balance finished foods are tested for the presence of foodborne bacteria and nutritional ingredient safety at an accredited reference laboratory before the products are distributed. Connolly said the frequency and extent of the company’s testing protocols are among the highest and most rigorous in the pet food industry.
As an added measure of assurance, test findings also are posted on the Natural Balance website, where pet lovers can enter the UPC code and lot number on the company’s pet food packaging to view an individual product’s test results, providing full transparency and traceability.
“We are firmly focused on retaining and attracting premium pet food consumers for the Natural Balance core product lines through incremental growth, while also introducing new and exciting products that embolden the business,” said Connolly. “We are confident we will enhance this well-loved brand through our strategic approach, precision market targeting and extensive understanding of today’s ingredient-conscious pet food consumers.”
In the coming months, Natural Balance intends to reengage pet food consumers with the brand, update digital properties and deploy a full-scale, integrated marketing campaign with exciting new programming.
To learn more, visit NaturalBalanceInc.com.
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