Waggles Pet Food (Pvt.) Ltd. has been recognized as one of the 100 most impactful startups in Pakistan in the National Startup Championship 2022. Launched in January 2020, Waggles is positioning itself as a local pet food brand with the MadewithLoveinPakistan hashtag. The company’s CEO, Rafae Dossal, started the company with two co-founders after seeing an opportunity to grow in the Pakistani market.
In a first-of-its-kind platform, SEE Pakistan is putting the spotlight on startups in the country. “The startup space in Pakistan is increasing tenfold,” said Dossal. “The See Pakistan event was organized by various universities of Pakistan that wanted to highlight startups that are either localizing or innovating something. This is a matter of honor for Waggles, as we have been privately raising our own funds to scale up this venture, which sets us apart from tech startups.”
Dossal added that it has been an incredible journey for his company, and he was thankful for local customers, calling them the company’s backbone. The brand’s success comes from its simple, all-natural recipes, he said.
“We use the food canning method to increase shelf life,” Dossal explained. “Otherwise, our pet food uses no preservatives. The recipes we make are high in moisture; we use broth-based recipes that are beneficial to the animals. We are now experimenting with dehydrated dog food, specifically with a dried chicken breast recipe, as well.”
At present, the company is offering wet dog and cat food, plus dog treats, through the company’s website and using omnichannel branding. Their products are now also available through Daraz.pk, Pakistan’s premier e-commerce platform, as well as through brick-and-mortar retailers like Qureshi Retailers and Speedy Retailers.
Waggles focused on wet pet food before dry pet food as a strategy for growth. Dossal mentioned that while dry food accounts for 70% of global production, the wet pet food market is growing because it is considered healthier.
“It has always been our vision to set up wet pet food first,” Dossal said. “We are now setting up dry pet food.”
The company is also shifting gears from retail to manufacturing, with Dossal noting that they started developing a manufacturing facility in Karachi in 2021. The facility is now operational, and is ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certified. By investing in its own production after the pilot phase in 2020 showed a viable market, the company now has an annual production capacity of 1,200 tons for wet pet food.
“We are importing machinery from Germany for our dry pet food line, which should be operational by Q4 of this fiscal year,” Dossal said.
Reflecting on the company’s success in Pakistan, Dossal hopes to expand production capacity and orient Waggles as an export brand of Pakistan, trying to follow the example of Thailand.
“In terms of main competitors, we see Thai brands as direct competition in the export market,” Dossal said. “Thailand has a price advantage, and a good sea food source for protein. We are very similar as we also use natural ingredients, and no artificial flavors or coloring.”
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