Tollden Farms raw pet food acquisition during pandemic

Increasing numbers of remote workers may create opportunities for dog, cat and other pet food companies, as pet owners spend more time at home with their animals.

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(Kovbasniuk |
(Kovbasniuk |

Adapted from a press release:

Dane Creek Capital Corporation (DCCC) acquired Tollden Farms, a Canadian manufacturer of frozen raw pet food located in Kemptville, Ontario. One DCCC executive commented on how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may affect the pet food market. Increasing numbers of remote workers may create opportunities for dog, cat and other pet food companies, as pet owners spend more time at home with their animals, he said.

“Over the last several weeks we have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer buying habits, many of which we believe will outlast the current health crisis being faced by Canadians,” said said Mark Warren, chairman and CEO of DCCC. “While we are not naive about the long-term impact on the overall Canadian economy, we also believe that the sudden and significant growth in the 'stay at home economy' witnessed recently will outlast the current economic turmoil and benefit the pet industry specifically. Pet ownership is central to that economy as people stay close to home and 'nest'. Dogs and cats are family and as such play an important role in reducing overall stress in these tougher times. The Tollden Farms brand is loved and trusted by Canadian pet owners and as such is only set to grow further in this current environment.”

The acquisition was made by United Raw Pet Foods which is 70% owned by DCCC and 30% owned by other shareholders of DCCC. The purchase price represents 1.1 times trailing twelve-month revenues. The acquisition was an all-cash transaction. No other terms were announced.

Tollden Farms was founded in 2002 by Annette and Kevin McAleer. Tollden Farms’ frozen raw pet food recipes use only human-grade meat and vegetables, and are available in three formats: meat and vegetable blends; meat and botanical blends; and a selection of ‘DIY’ meat and vegetable components for the growing number of pet owners looking to customize their pets’ diets. McAleer will stay on as head of Tollden Farms and will become a key member of the DCCC team.

Other raw dog and cat food acquisitions

Tollden Farms represents United Raw’s fifth acquisition of a Canadian frozen raw pet food manufacturer, succeeding United Raw’s acquisitions of:

  • Mountain Dog Enterprises Inc. in October 2017 (Edmonton, AB)
  • Pets 4 Life in January, 2018 (St. Thomas, ON)
  • Naturawls Pet Products in April, 2018 (St. Thomas, ON)
  • Natural Chow Pet Food Corp., the maker of ‘Spring Meadows’ in June,  2018 (Saskatoon, SK)

United Raw also acquired a minority stake in Pet Plate in 2018. Pet Plate is a direct-to-consumer brand of lightly cooked pet food based in the US. With the acquisition of Tollden Farms, United Raw has extended its position as the largest family of raw pet food brands in Canada. United Raw takes the view that pet owners who choose to feed raw tend to be loyal to the raw category rather than a specific raw brand. Many raw feeders regularly switch between brands to provide variety in proteins, vegetable content and ingredient sources for their dogs and cats. With the addition of Tollden Farms, United Raw now offers ten brands both nationally and locally and United Raw brands can be found in most pet specialty retailers in Canada.

United Raw’s sales strategy focuses on supporting pet specialty retailers and its multi-brand portfolio provides a broad selection of options to choose from – a key tenet of United Raw’s ‘good, better, best’ model. United Raw believes that the fresh pet food category, which includes frozen raw, is poised for accelerated growth.

Tollden Farms foods can be found in pet specialty retailers in Ontario and parts of Quebec. Its protein range includes such exotic meats as kangaroo and boar, as well as an extensive selection of raw meaty bones – another fast-growing segment aimed at filling the ever-expanding freezer sections in pet specialty retailers.

Tollden Farm’s existing facility in Kemptville, ON will become United Raw’s fourth manufacturing hub within a national Canadian network of frozen fresh raw pet food producers located in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

“Conventional wisdom would suggest that as we acquire these raw pet food manufacturers, we consolidate operations,” Warren said. “We have never taken that view as absolute and if anything, the current health crisis supports our model of maintaining smaller regional manufacturing facilities across the country which are capable of making two or more of our brands.”

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

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