"Feed with love" is Vitakraft's motto. "This motto is the core idea behind our company philosophy," asserts Dieter Meyer, the company's head of communication. Vitakraft began in 1837 as a small petfood business near the city of Bremen, Germany. Since then it has developed into one of the most successful companies in the petfood industry.
"Vitakraft is proud to be a family-owned, independent and innovative company," says Meyer. The two primary goals of its research and development are:
A long, happy and healthy life for our pets and
- The satisfaction of the owner.
Meyer notes that Vitakraft offers feeding concepts developed by scientific research about how pets eat in nature. "Mother Nature decides what is best for them," says Meyer.
He says the company has highly motivated experts in its R&D department creating new and innovative product-concepts. This, along with geographic expansion, are its keys to future growth.
Over 3,000 items
With over 2,100 employees worldwide, Vitakraft offers over 3,000 items, including daily foods, healthy treats and diverse pet care and hygiene products. The company generally supplies all existing sales channels in a market: mass markets, specialty pet shops and do it yourself (DIY) stores.
In addition to innovative products, the company is growing by extending its global market presence. Since 2000, it has established eight new Vitakraft sales companies in eight countries, both start-ups and acquisitions. With this international expansion, the Vitakraft Group now includes 20 companies in 19 countries.
"More than 5,000 business partners in over 50,000 shops worldwide stock Vitakraft products," Meyer declares. He notes that in the last year, the company expanded into new markets in Europe - Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. It has also demonstrated its strong commitment to the US market via the Sun Seed acquisition.
Meyer believes the global market drivers for the petfood industry will be:
Adaptation to modern, urban lifestyles;
The increasing popularity of dry food; and
The growing demand for small animals.
"The high degree of emotional connection between people and their pets bodes well for international pet markets," he says.
"We are not afraid of the customary market challenges, competition, consumer behavior, etc," maintains Meyer. "However, as an international enterprise we are highly concerned about the increasing competitive distortions due to massive restrictions on free trade." He says import restrictions in the form of hidden duties, rules and certifications cause huge expenditures that are often difficult to overcome.
Meyer says over the last 10 years, Vitakraft has become "a full-concept supplier". First, it supplies a deep and complete assortment of appropriate products for many species. Second, the company has developed its competence in category management. "Today," he says, "Vitakraft stands out to our customers as a dependable partner offering the proper product mix for differing retail environments and top-notch merchandising advice at multiple price levels. Our company wants to ensure the correct feeding and care of all pets."