Global investment firm KKR has invested in Gambol Pet Group, pet food company headquartered in Shandong Province, China.
Gambol and KKR are partnering to expand the Gambol’s production capacity in key markets including China, Thailand, countries in Europe, and the US, where it is currently the largest private-label provider of pet treats to Walmart, according to KKR.
“By partnering with KKR, we aim to expand and provide healthy packaged pet food to customers both overseas and in China,” said Qin Hua, chairman and CEO of Gambol, in a press release. “KKR will become a truly value-added partner to Gambol with their deep expertise in the global pet sector, with Chinese consumers, and in the area of food safety.”
Gambol is a pet food exporter in China, supplying products to a customer base in Europe, Asia and North America. In China’s growing pet food market, the Gambol Myfoodie pet food brand holds top ranking in China’s pet treat category and is a leader in the dry food category, according to China Feed Industry Association.
The China’s pet food market is one of the fastest-growing consumer sectors in the country with a compound annual growth rate of over 30 percent in the past few years, according to the data from Goumin.com. However, the market is still fragmented and under-developed, posing opportunities for players like Gambol with differentiation in technology and product quality.
In addition, China’s pet food sector is still at a nascent stage compared to other markets. According to Stratop Group, only 13 percent of Chinese urban households have pet dogs. Meanwhile, more than 36 percent of American households own dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In China, packaged pet food penetration is only 14 percent, compared to more than 90 percent in the US.
Headquartered in Liaocheng, Shandong Province in China, Gambol has six facilities in China and one facility in Thailand. Gambol provides a range of pet food products including dry food, wet food, real meat jerky treats, rawhide chews and dental bones.
While cat trends continue, the pandemic has added to overall slow-growth treatment of the cat food market.
Premiumization and humanization, as well as automation, fueled continued operation growth in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.