South African premium pet food companies see growth

Maneli Pets and SA Complete Pet Food in South Africa are capitalizing on the global pet food premiumization trend.

South African Boerboel dogs (Jacques Jacobsz |
South African Boerboel dogs (Jacques Jacobsz |

South African pet food manufactures are profiting off global trends of premiumization and pet humanization, according to a 2018 report from Insight Survey, a South African business-to-business market research company. Although not as large as North American and European pet food markets, South Africa remains a highly developed and competitive market. The steady increase in pet food sales since 2014 has led to a rise in foreign imports, but according to a 2018 Dog Food in South Africa report from Euromonitor International, imported brands have seen higher price increases. As a result, price-conscious pet owners may be driven toward premium or economy domestic brands.

Martin & Martin, a major South African distributor of premium pet food brands, saw an increase in its market share after acquiring Nestlé South Africa’s pet food brands in 2016. Martin & Martin continues to dominate the dog food sector in value terms, but other smaller domestic companies have penetrated the market in an effort to capitalize on growing trends. Private label brands are also seeing increased consumer support, according to the Euromonitor report, “with manufacturers introducing private label ranges to suit different price points.”

South African pet food companies serve foreign and local markets

Maneli Pets, a pet treat manufacturer headquartered in Johannesburg, embodies the determination and resourcefulness of manufacturers in the region. Maneli Pets manufactures premium pet treats from free-range South African proteins such as ostrich, venison and crocodile, and exports its products to the US, UK, Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The global trend of premiumization plays a major factor in Maneli Pets’ international success. The company markets its meat products as human grade, even referencing South Africa’s established reputation as an exporter of high-quality food for human consumption. Maneli Pets specifically targets foreign markets, rather than the local market, because of the demand for premium products overseas, according to Siphamandla Ndawonde, managing director of Maneli Pets, in a 2017 interview with Tim Modise, a South African journalist and broadcaster. 

Based in Primrose Germiston, SA Complete Pet Food is another successful South African manufacturer, but of a smaller scale. Unlike Maneli Pets, Complete Pet Food markets its premium products to consumers across South Africa. Similar to Maneli Pets, Complete Pet Food focuses on improving pet health through nutrition, marketing pet food with ingredients like selenium and omega-3 and -6. Although the company markets its products as premium, Complete Pet Food’s offers products in a range of price points, making the company’s pet food stand out among other domestic brands and foreign imports in the economy pet food sector.

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