Good health spurs pet food expansions in key Asia markets

Plant-based food and the desire for made-to-order products provide opportunities for the pet food market in Asia. Here's what v-planet and Nu4Pet are doing.

(Stephan Kapl, Fotolia)
(Stephan Kapl, Fotolia)

Good health and nutrition are the main drivers that saw the entry of vegan and customized pet food products in key Asian markets towards the end of 2020.

Both South Korea and Japan in November welcomed the vegan pet food products of San Francisco, California, USA-based v-planet, while Taiwan's first custom-formula pet food maker Nu4Pet expanded its distribution in Malaysia.

v-planet taps multiple partners to expand in Asia

To distribute its 100% plant-based and non-GMO pet food, v-planet tapped Wholefoods Inc. in Japan and the 26-year-old Dream Pet Foods Co. Ltd. in South Korea to be its partners. Both channels will sell v-planet's kibbles available in mini bites for small dogs and larger bites for medium and large dogs.

“Many South Koreans are adopting a plant-based lifestyle because they're concerned about the welfare of animals and the state of the environment,” said Lindsay Rubin, vice president of v-planet. “But they haven't had a lot of options for vegan pet food. We're confident v-planet and Dream Pet Foods can make a real difference for them by introducing our completely balanced, nutritious and dog-approved food.”

Rubin said that Japan is saddled with the same lack of plant-based pet food options for its 9 million pet dogs. Partnering with Wholefoods is quite apt as its president, Dr. Harue Suzuki, is a vegan dog owner herself.

“We are very pleased to partner with v-planet ... In Japan, our dogs are a huge part of our lifestyle, and bringing v-planet's cruelty-free and completely nutritious vegan food to my country is a welcome opportunity,” Suzuki said.

v-planet’s dog foods are formulated with vegan proteins and non-GMO ingredients, and are free-from corn, soy or wheat. Their products are also distributed in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

Nu4Pet expands in Malaysia

Nu4Pet, Taiwan's first subscription-based and first made-to-order pet food company, has expanded in Malaysia with its line of cat and dog food based on customized formulas. They partnered with major pet care distributor Golden Alpha to carry at least 14 of their dry dog and cat food products for pets of different age and size.

Though Nu4Pet admits to experiencing early marketing challenges, it has slowly become a well-known brand in Taiwan with latest annual revenues of NT$4 million (US$142,233). Nu4Pet customizes pet food for dogs and cats under the guidance of in-house pet nutritionists. The brand is also known for using unique ingredient pairings and medicinal plants in their products, such as fresh fish with black bean, chicken and fish with sweet potato, and Calendula extracts which supposedly maintains a dog's eye health.

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