Manna Pro Products, a Missouri-based manufacturer and marketer of animal nutrition and care products, has purchased VetScience and their Fruitables brand of premium dog treats and food supplements.

The Fruitables brand grew out of university research performed with the goal of solving pet obesity using low-calorie pumpkin as a fortified food supplement. The research produced a successful weight loss program and the underlying philosophy became the foundation of the company’s CalorieSmart ethos for pet wellness and health. Today, the Fruitables brand has evolved into a full line of CalorieSmart treats, broths and toppers.

The acquisition follows several other pet company acquisitions by Manna Pro that have expanded their product lines into the wellness, grooming, oral care and flea and tick categories.

“Fruitables treats and supplements will be a strong addition to our portfolio of premium pet products,” said Manna Pro president and CEO John Howe. “Consumers are feeding their pets similarly to how they are eating, and Fruitables has been an early leader in offering healthy options. Working closely with independent pet retailers, Fruitables have helped pet owners address health conditions and provide preventive care. We remain committed to those retailers and Fruitables loyal followers.”

Research shows functional pet treats on the rise

Functional pet treats are growing more popular among pet owners focused on nutrition and wellness. Pet treat manufactures are reaping the benefits of the growing health and nutrition trend. Over the last five years, pet treat sales in the US have outpaced dog and cat food sales, with treats sales increasing 29 percent between 2012–2017 to reach US$4.39 billion, according to recent data from Mintel.

The pet treat category is out-performing the overall pet food market while following many of the same trends, such as “humanization, natural, grain-free, limited ingredient, made in the USA, functional ingredients and exotic proteins,” according to a 2017 report from Research and Markets.

“As in the pet food market, health and wellness concerns are a primary driver, with more and more pet owners turning to functional treats for health conditions that are often age- or weight-related, including joint/mobility, skin/coat and cognitive,” said the Research and Markets report. “Additionally, as the chews segment recovers from the wave of recalls in recent years, consumers are looking for options with simpler and fewer ingredients and demanding transparency when it comes to ingredient sourcing.”