3 pet food companies making moves to expand and invest

Kormotech, Vafo Group and Healthybud recently announced new investments and products.

Besides expanding distribution of its flagship brands, Ukraine’s Kormotech is launching a new UK-based venture that invests in pet food startups.
Besides expanding distribution of its flagship brands, Ukraine’s Kormotech is launching a new UK-based venture that invests in pet food startups.
Courtesy Kormotech

In the dynamic pet food market, producers continue to release new investments, expansions and product launches:

Kormotech launches UK venture arm, invests in foreign startup

Ukraine’s leading pet food producer, Kormotech, has set up Kormotech Ventures, a company headquartered in London, to expand its foothold in foreign markets and invest in prospective pet food businesses. The company has already acquired a majority stake in Rocketo, a U.K. organic air-dried dog food brand.

Rostyslav Vovk, CEO and co-owner of Kormotech, said in a statement provided to Petfoodindustry.com that, as “a family-owned business, we are committed to adding value to our partners by sharing our manufacturing and supply chain expertise and the potential of our industry-leading talent, which will be shared at the Kormotech Ventures level.”

Kormotech Ventures will focus its efforts on innovative pet care companies in Europe and the U.S., seeking opportunities for early-stage investments. â€śIn addition, the company will fully manage projects as the majority shareholder. Kormotech’s core business will continue to focus on its flagship brands with expansions across Central and Eastern Europe,” the company said.

Earlier this year, Kormotech said that, despite last year’s hardship and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the company expanded its sales to 39 countries, up from 19 countries five years ago. One of the brand’s objectives for 2023 is to reach annual revenues of US$150 million, up from US$124 million last year.

As part of Kormotech’s international expansion plans, export sales are expected to rise from 22% of the company’s total sales in 2022 to 30% this year, and between 60% and 70% by 2028, according to the Lviv-based business.

Vafo invests in domestic pet food market capacities

Following its acquisition of Pooch & Mutt earlier this year, Czech pet food maker Vafo Group continues its expansion, allocating additional funds to expand its capacities in its domestic market.

Tereza Alvarez Sone, marketing manager of Vafo Group, said the company has installed “new technology at the wet feed factory in Chotoviny to streamline the production process, enabling automation of packaging and a new canning line.”

Also in 2023, Vafo is intensifying its efforts to continue its transition toward recyclable packaging, which now covers more than 70% of the company’s products. The ongoing investments contribute to the Czech pet food brand’s sustainability strategy, paving the way for a “significant reduction of packaging material transportation, final bag cost savings, storage space reduction and flexibility of production,” Alvarez Stone said.

At the same time, Vafo is investing in Estonia, where it is developing freeze-dried technology at its factory, she added.

Canadian pet food brand launches superfood-based dog treats

Canadian pet food brand Healthybud is readying to launch superfood-based mini training treats for dogs manufactured with natural ingredients. The company will sell its new product line, which is the brand's first new addition to its range in two years, both in Canada and the U.S.

“The Healthybud team has been hard at work crafting the best possible training treats and we’re so excited to finally be releasing them — our first new product launch in two years,” said Dana Ben David, co-founder and creative director. “We previewed the Mini Training Treats at SuperZoo last month, and everyone went wild for them,” said.

Healthybud describes its product portfolio as “superfood-packed treats, meal toppers and freeze-dried raw food for dogs.” The Montreal-based brand says its products are available in about 600 stores across North America.

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