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Pet Food News
on March 19, 2012

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition executive discusses petfood company's growth

Jeff Watters says company is growing with focus on wider range of customers, value-priced products

Jeff Watters, who will become president of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition on March 31, recently discussed the growing petfood company's success with the Erie Times-News.

In the article, Watters said the once-regional company now sells petfood in all 50 states in the US under several different brand names, with a focus on value-priced products that appeal to a wider range of customers.

"It's been a really great (period) of long-term growth for the company," Watters said. "We have been growing 20 to 25 percent a year for the better part of a decade."

Ainsworth sells petfood products in three different divisions, including a branded line of foods for Food Network chef Rachael Ray, a brand that mimics the diet of dogs in the wild and higher-priced products that compete with Iams and Hills' Science Diet.

"This really complements nicely what we have been doing in the more mainstream market," he said. "It allows our footprint to cover a brand new set of consumers."

The company is also moving some of its administrative offices to a new building in Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA, to give the 275-person company more space.

"As a practical matter, we are busting at the seams in our Mill Street office," Watters said. "There was a need to accommodate the growth. We also wanted to remain committed to Meadville. We felt the move would be a good fit for downtown commerce."

He said the move gives the company more room for growth as it continues to watch its budget while also investing more in food safety.

"A continued long-term track record of growth is one of our objectives," Watters said. "We need to make sure our structure is more competitive."

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