European pet food producers invest in, expand brands

Plus, how the EU-New Zealand Trade Agreement could boost international pet food trade.

1 Natura Plus Ultra Pet Food
Natura Plus Ultra Pet Food

France’s pet food maker Natura Plus Ultra Pet Food managed to expand its sales to €55.6 million (US$61.1 million) in 2023, up around 43% compared with a year earlier. The business hopes to further raise its revenues in 2024 and is readying to introduce a number of new  pet food products, according to a senior company representative.

Matthieu Wincker, the president and founder of Natura Plus Ultra Pet Food, told Petfoodindustry.com in a statement the company’s brand, Ultra Premium Direct, will roll out a new natural recipe that will expand its grain-free range this February. 

This product will be made with the “use of super-ingredients, natural fruit and vegetables, recognized for their health benefits,” he said. They will be “made without grain, recipes made without cereals to respect your dog’s carnivorous diet.”

Other forthcoming additions to the direct-to-consumer firm’s portfolio include pest-repellent pipettes for cats to be also introduced this February, foam for sterilized cats to be launched in March 2024, a new range of food supplements in the form of gummies to be introduced this May, as well as a new fresh meat recipe for cats to be rolled out this September, Wincker said.

Natura Plus Ultra Pet Food said that in 2023, the pet food business had an active customer base of around 230,000.

At the same time, the company is also gradually increasing its workforce. In 2023, Natura Plus Ultra Pet Food was operated by some 180 employees. In the preceding year, the firm was run by a workforce of 145 people, according to figures released by the company.

Spanish pet food producer invests in own store chain

Spain’s Visán is intensifying efforts to develop its own chain of retail outlets with the opening of its second store under the Only Fresh brand. The investments are enabled by the company’s rising sales, as Visán estimates that, in 2023, its turnover rose by about 20% compared with a year earlier.

The company launched its first outlet in Alcobendas, located in Spain's central region, in June 2023. The second store was recently opened in Fuenlabrada. Both cities are located in close proximity to Spain’s capital, Madrid. Visan is aiming to open further outlets in other cities across the country soon, local news site Alimarket.es reported.

“Physical presence allows us to connect more directly with our customers, providing them with personalized advice and a wide variety of options to treat their loyal pets by offering a unique and personalized shopping experience,” said Javier Sancho, the chief executive of Visán.

Set up in 1928 and based in Madrid, Visán specializes in making dog and cat food. Some of the Spanish firm’s brands include Banters, Only Fresh, Triple Crown, Optimanova, Amanova, Evoque, and Trovet, according to Visán data.

EU-New Zealand free trade agreement could boost international pet food trade

The free trade agreement between the European Union and New Zealand is expected to enter into force this year, potentially expanding the two partners’ trade by 30% and eliminating €140 million (US$153.7 million) in duties annually. Pet food businesses from both Europe and New Zealand are also awaiting its implementation, as pet food will join other products to be covered by a zero tariff rate.

The deal could also encourage intensified investments by European pet food producers in New Zealand. “EU investment flows into New Zealand could increase by over 80%" following the agreement’s implementation, the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said in a statement.

Signed on July 9, 2023, the agreement is currently awaiting the approval of the European Parliament, the legislative body of the 27-member state bloc, and New Zealand’s ratification, according to the commission.

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