Petfood Industry magazine asked Pet DelÃcia Co-founder and CEO JÃ¶rgen Dehlbom:
How would you evaluate the current state of the petfood industry?
We focus on Brazil at the moment. We believe we are in a state where we have a good potential customer base, but that customer base will grow rapidly as the need for more natural petfood grows. That growth is part of a social trend and is difficult to estimate. What we can say, though, is that we are in the very beginning of that trend. That is the most important aspect for us; being a part of that journey and taking advantage of that opportunity. That was one of the reasons we started Pet DelÃcia. No one was offering the kind of products that we offer today, and we saw the opportunity to position ourselves at the right time.
What predictions do you have for the petfood industry?
It is hard to say in general terms, but when it comes to the natural and real petfood areas in Brazil, we believe we have only seen the beginning. In terms of numbers, we believe we will see at least the same type of growth in the coming years as we have seen the last several years (the CAGR for the Premium market was 9% between 2013 and 2014).
What are some of your most difficult [industry] challenges?
The most important issue is how to change the current conservative mindset of veterinarians and customers, and accelerate change: How to make them understand that yes, real, all-natural food is important for pets. The large companies have, since the 1980sâ€“90s, marketed industrial dry food as a substitute for home-cooked food. They have succeeded very well in Brazil, even though it came later here than in the US and even though the dry food penetration still is not on par with the US. That being said, the main challenge is to show that yes, real and balanced food with human-grade ingredients with no artificial colorings and preservatives are much better than dry food with lower-quality ingredients.