The Higgins Group Corp., or Higgins Premium Pet Foods (“Higgins”), a companion bird and small animal food manufacturer located in Miami, Florida, was acquired by Versele-Laga NV ("Versele-Laga"), a Belgium-based premium pet food and pet care company. The acquisition continues Versele-Laga's strategy as a worldwide manufacturer of branded quality pet foods and animal care products. Higgins provides a key cornerstone for Versele-Laga in the United States, the largest pet food market in the world as well as the gateway to the Caribbean and South American markets. The synergies between Versele-Laga and Higgins are expected to enhance each company's capabilities, efficiencies and market reach. Higgins will give Versele-Laga valuable insights and a better understanding of the needs of pet parents in the United States.
"Versele-Laga strives to be the preferred brand in pet nutrition by sharing common values with trusted pet parents," says Gwijde Versele, chief financial officer of Versele-Laga. "We are excited to welcome Higgins' management team and employees and have them join our family-owned company with a combined 132 years of experience in animal nutrition between us. We look forward to developing new, innovative products and to creating the right support tools and services by being the premium brands pet parents trust for their pets."
"Higgins will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Versele-Laga, focusing on its strengths as a specialist in high-quality companion bird and small animal foods while having access to Versele-Laga's infrastructure. It will support Versele-Laga understanding the needs of different American end consumer market segments and the required brand identities. Higgins senior management will remain, with Dean Reyes continuing as director of sales and marketing and Andy Perea as general manager, while working together with David Mortier, our Versele-Laga U.S. business developer," says Frederic Boone, CEO of Versele-Laga.
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.