"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:
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:
"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."
Officers: Heiko Wuhrmann, president and CEO; U. Schmidt, executive officer controlling; Rainer Kreie, CEO production and technology
Annual sales: Euromonitor estimates Vitakraft's 2007 sales at US$300 million, with US$121 million coming from dog and cat foods
Brands: Vitakraft, Sun Seed, Vitobel and Aqua Food
Distribution: The Vitakraft Group now includes 20 companies in 19 countries and over 5,000 business partners in over 50,000 shops worldwide
Employees: Over 2,100
By Lindsay Beaton
While dogs and cats continue to reign supreme, the growth of the “other” pet space can’t be denied: 9.9 million homes own a bird, 6.2 million homes have a small pet (usually small mammals) and 5.7 million homes own a reptile.
By Lindsay Beaton
Pet owners with birds, small mammals and other types of non-dog/cat animals are demanding the best for their feathered, furry or scaly friends.