L Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm, announced that it has invested in Shanghai Enova Pet Products (“Enova”), the owner of Pure & Natural, a leading domestic premium pet food brand in China. This marks L Catterton’s foray into China’s pet food market, leveraging the firm’s global experience in the sector and capabilities in building enduring brands.
The investment comes amid the rapid growth of China’s pet food market, which has expanded considerably over the past five years. With pet owners increasingly seeking higher quality, more nutritious food for their pets, the premium segment is experiencing the fastest growth and is expected to more than triple over the next five years.
Pure & Natural is now the top domestic premium dog food brand in China and has helped fuel Enova’s sales growth over the past five years. The brand’s range of dog food is known for having a balanced nutritional profile and enjoys best-in-class conversion as well as repurchase rates, with significant customer loyalty. While relatively young, Enova’s cat food business is fast growing, and its newly launched Inne series under the Pure & Natural brand has received strong consumer feedback in recognition of the series’ palatability and science-based formula.
Enova is vertically integrated, with a robust supply chain and an extensive presence across offline and online channels in China. The company has established strong relationships with strategic distribution and retail partners over the years, enabling it to access numerous points of sale including specialty stores and pet hospitals across the country. Its products are also sold on major e-commerce platforms through its direct-to-consumer Tmall and TikTok flagship stores, as well as various distribution partners including JD.com and Tmall Supermarket. Enova continues to capitalize on digital marketing avenues to amplify Pure & Natural’s brand visibility and reach.
“Macro trends such as rising disposable incomes and the increasing humanization of pets provide favorable tailwinds for the premium pet food category in China,” commented Scott Chen, a managing partner of L Catterton Asia. “Enova is well positioned to benefit from these trends, given its strong research and development capabilities, superior product quality, as well as significant and expanding omnichannel presence. We look forward to partnering with Enova’s experienced and proven management team to drive further growth.”
“Enova is on a mission to help pets live life to the fullest. With a focus on science and pets’ natural diets, we are committed to producing pet food with balanced nutritional profiles and high-quality ingredients,” said Enova Founder and CEO Herman Zhao. “We had proprietary, bespoke dialogues with L Catterton for some time and are impressed by the firm’s deep domain knowledge and insights stemming from its investments in the pet industry across geographies. L Catterton’s investment will catalyze the next stage of our growth as the firm has an abundance of world-class strategic and operating expertise in the pet food space which we can harness to further build the Pure & Natural brand, drive top-line growth and broaden our suite of products. We are excited about the journey ahead as we continue working to offer premium pet food that brings delight to consumers and their beloved pets.”
L Catterton has significant experience investing globally in the pet food space. Current and past investments in this space include Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Butternut Box, Canidae, Inspired Pet Nutrition, JustFoodForDogs, Lily’s Kitchen, Nature’s Variety, Petlove and Wellness Pet Food Company.
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