J.M. Smucker aims to increase sales of Rachael Ray Nutrish pet foods, and plans to meet anticipated higher pet food sales with greater production at the company’s facility in Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA, reported The Meadville Tribune. At a regional event, Maribeth Burns, Smucker vice president of public, state and local affairs, discussed the pet food company’s goal for Rachael Ray Nutrish to hit US$1 billion in annual sales over the next five years. The eight production lines and approximately 300 employees at the Meadville plant likely will be called on to increase production at Nutrish reaches for the billion dollar goal.
In 2010, Dad's Pet Care changed its name to Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, following a restructuring of the company and a series of acquisitions made to expand its product offering. The name referred back to the company's founder, George Ainsworth Lang Sr., and his father, who began Dad's in 1933. In addition to the renaming, the company was restructured so that Dad's Pet Care, Ainsworth Specialty Brands and Ainsworth Custom operated as three business units, all part of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Ainsworth made a series of investments to diversify its products and expand the company, including the acquisition of Hampshire Pet Products, Targeted Pet Treats, Gaines of Canada, Back to Basics and Arkat Animal Nutrition.
Ainsworth Pet Nutrition employed a diverse strategy to grow from a regional, value-based manufacturer to a national presence, according to Petfood Industry’s Top Pet Food Companies database. Ainsworth's partnership with Rachael Ray brought celebrity appeal, a string of acquisitions amassed market share, and private label development supported its bottom line.
In April, 2018, the J. M. Smucker Company signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, LLC for approximately US$1.7 billion.
U.S. retail pet food sales made up 39% of all fiscal 2019 net sales for J.M. Smucker. Pet specialty now accounts for 6% of all Smucker retail sales, including Ainsworth Pet Nutrition products. The company released financial results on June 6.
Smucker’s dog, cat and other pet food and treats achieved net sales of US$2.9 billion in fiscal year 2019, up from US$2.2 billion in 2018. In the fourth quarter, Smucker pet segment sales hit US$721.2, an increase of 35% over the same period in the previous year. However, if Ainsworth sales are excluded, Smucket pet segment net sales declined US$12.1 million.
Smucker’s pet food and treat segment profits for fiscal year 2019 stood at US$503.4 million, compared to US$439.4 million in 2018. Fourth quarter profits were US$131.2, a 29% increase over the previous year. Excluding Ainsworth, segment profit decreased US$5.1 million.
The decline in Smucker’s pet segment, excluding Ainsworth, included a US$16.4 million decline related to exit of some private label businesses and the remaining effects from the discontinuation of Gravy Train wet dog food products.
Volume/mix reduced net sales by 3 percentage points. Private label businesses’ exit and declines for the Milk-Bone brand were partially offset by gains for the Meow Mix and Nature’s Recipe brands. Net price realization was neutral, primarily due to gains for the Milk-Bone brand being offset by declines for the Natural Balance brand.
Smucker runs processing plants in Decatur, Alabama, Lawrence, Kansas, and Buffalo, New York, according to Petfood Industry’s Top Pet Food Companies Current Data. Both a processing plant and distribution center are operated at locations in Topeka, Kansas, and Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. In addition to its own brands, Smucker produces and distributes private-label pet products, and utilizes co-packers and re-packers in the US, Canada and Thailand.
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.