This month, newly-expanded production facilities are coming on-stream in Switzerland for the company that calls itself the country's "number one" in dry petfood manufacturing. Along with its announcement of the move to enlarge the factory by about 40% were revelations that it had taken steps to globalize its commercial activities, which until now have operated mainly in the European Union area.

BioMill says it decided last year to expand the Granges-Marnand plant after reaching the limit of the production capacity available there. Total sales had grown by 14% and those outside Switzerland by 68%. Further export growth is within sight, as the existing European destinations for products are joined by more long-distance customers in the shape of Russia, Turkey and South Korea. There has also been the acquisition of French distributor Pet Planet sarl, which is being re-named BioMill France and moved from Lyons to Alsace.

Part of the Minoteries group, BioMill SA in Switzerland has added a second complete extrusion line to the enlarged Swiss factory and greatly increased drying capacity. Moreover, it has installed a fully-automated palletizing machine capable of handling packs and cartons of all sizes.

Dry foods dominate the Spanish scene

France, Portugal and Italy provided most of the foreign visitors two years ago to the last Sizoo pet products show held in Barcelona, Spain. The total attendance of almost 14,000 included over 1,000 people from abroad. Now Sizoo is back for its 13th edition October 6-9, 2005 in Hall 2 of Barcelona's Montjuïc exhibition site. We are told that it will feature more than 110 exhibitors, 35% of whom are foreign, occupying a surface area of 31,000 square meters and exhibiting more than 445 different brands.

Perhaps the more revealing statistics relate to the Spanish petfoods market. Not least there is the evidence that sales of dry foods have continued to rise, in a country which can already claim third place behind the UK and France in the European dry food league. Spanish sources estimate that dry products accounted for 75% of the total value of the petfood market in Spain in 2004. By their reckoning, almost 90% of all dog foods and 65% of foods for cats were bought in dry form.

Demographic surveys supply more perspective on this. They describe a nation of 45 million people where the single-person household becomes far more of a factor than in the past and where 70-75% of all people live in towns or cities rather than in rural areas. The number of dogs certainly exceeds 4.5 million, even when only licensed animals are counted. More dogs and an increase in smaller canine breeds are the main trends described nationally. The eleven plants currently operated by members of Spanish petfood manufacturers association Anfaac work in a marketplace that can be measured at 350,000 tons-per-year for the volume of dog/cat foods. Annual spending on these items in Spain exceeds 450 million.