Carnivore Meat Company, maker of Vital Essentials and Vital Cat pet food brands, received the 2018 Governor’s Export Achievement Award at the Annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference held in Milwaukee.
Specializing in the raw pet food category, Vital Essentials and Vital Cat offer frozen and freeze-dried entrees, treats and snacks for dogs and cats. The company was chosen as one of this year’s award recipients because Vital Essentials and Vital Cat raw pet food brands have grown over the past three years and contributed to the overall state economy and trade development.
“Wisconsin exports increased by 6.1 percent in 2017 and are off to a strong start again this year due in large part to the efforts of companies like these, which have developed strategies for reaching new international markets,” said Wisconsin Governor Walker. “Congratulations to this year’s winners for their success in exporting. They are each helping grow Wisconsin’s economy.”
The company, which began exporting in 2015, experienced a 54 percent increase in international sales from 2016 to 2017, and expects 2018 increases at an even greater rate. The number of retail outlets has grown to over 6,000 around the world with exports to 14 countries.
"We exceeded expectations last year and are making significant investments across the entire organization and anticipate a 50 percent increase in our workforce, just to keep up to demand,” said Lanny Viegut, Carnivore Meat Company CEO and owner.
In March 2018, Carnivore Meat Company was one of seven Wisconsin companies awarded a Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. The 2018 categories included: growth and service, enterprise-wide precision and global brand growth.
Out of 23 nominees ranging in size from mega (800+ employees) to small (1-99 employees), Carnivore Meat Company took home the Global Brand Growth Award for the growth of its Vital Essentials pet food.
The company expanded operations in 2017 with the addition of a 20,000 square foot warehouse and distribution center that includes a 90,000 cubic foot freezer. The company broke ground in December 2017 on a 5,350 plant expansion that will double their freeze-drying capacity and create at least 20 jobs in the greater Green Bay area.
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.