Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Organic Pet Food by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

The pet food industry continues to evolve at a fast pace. Just two months after Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) introduced a private label premium pet food, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) launched a private label, all natural, organic pet food called Natural Life.

Moving further upscale, Wal-Mart is also stepping up competition in the $14 billion market for pet food. It already sells Ol' Roy dog food in the non-premium dry segment, and has now entered the organic pet food market, which is growing at high double digit rates annually.

Ol' Roy is a Wal-Mart private label manufactured by Doane Pet Care Co., a leading supplier of private label food to many companies. Doane announced today that it is being acquired by privately held Mars, Inc., owner of Pedigree, Sheba and Whiskas pet foods.

So Mars now owns the company that makes Wal-Mart's top-selling dry dog food. Mars launched a $200 million advertising campaign for Pedigree in '05, which is not sold at Wal-Mart and does not directly compete with Ol' Roy, but Wal-Mart's new entry into the premium space should be interesting to watch. I would assume (but don't really know), that Doane's also manufactures brands that compete directly with Pedigree.

Del Monte Foods Co. (NYSE:DLM) recently bought the Meow Mix and Milk-Bone brands for over $1 billion.

The Proctor & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) bought Iams in 1999 and brought it out of veterinarian offices and into 25,000 retail outlets, developed a tartar control coating using processes from Crest toothpaste, and turned Iams into the nations top pet food brand by dollar sales according to AC Neilsen with 10% of retail sales in Sep 2005. In 2006 P&G will debut a tartar control pet treat and possibly pet shampoos and odor removers as well ('Pets are People Too, You Know,' Businessweek Online, Nov 28 2005).

Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL) owns Hill's Science Diet, which was sold primarily in the vet channel until last year when it became available in PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ:PETM) retailers with in-store Banfield hospitals. Similar to Procter & Gamble, it seems Colgate-Palmolive is well positioned to use existing processes and technologies to produce odor control products from pet shampoos to fabric cleaners.

Colgate today announced first quarter 2006 results. Sales rose 5 percent to $2.87 billion from $2.74 billion, with the oral, personal and home care segment up 4.3 percent to $2.49 billion and the pet nutrition segment up 7 percent to $385.3 million. Hill's sales accounted for 13 percent of the company's total sales.

Nestle Purina PetCare owns many brands including Alpo, Beneful, Pro Plan, Purina One, Puppy Chow, Fancy Feast, and Friskies. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, where Ralston Purina Company was founded more than a century ago, the company is part of the Swiss-based Nestle S.A. - the world's largest food company.

Marketing to Pet Owners?
Check out the Pet Industry Strategic Outlook by Dillon Media.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pet Care in the 21st Century

Advances in veterinary medicine, new screening and treatment options, and consumers more educated than ever about pet diseases continue to drive the market for pet health care products and services.

Dog and cat owners in San Diego, California now have access to top-quality care at the new clinical facilities for the UC Veterinary Medical Center-San Diego.

The unit for treating acute and chronic kidney failure is one of only two veterinary clinics in California and five in the nation equipped to provide dialysis for cats and dogs. Other services includes behavioral, pharmaceutical, and nutritional specialty care.

The center was established in 1998 by UC Davis and UC San Diego to collaborate on teaching and research and to promote emerging specialty services in Southern California.

Related links:
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Marketing veterinary services? - Charts of vet spending by age, income and family makeup. Purchase online.
Pet Health Reference Search - A customized search engine for symptoms, conditions and treatments.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

40 Percent of US Households Own a Dog

The pet industry recovered nicely from a slight slowdown last fall and winter, and continues to exhibit strong and resilient growth patterns.

The overall industry reached $36.3 billion in the U.S. in 2005, according to the APPMA, up 5.5 percent from 2004, and up 27 percent since 2001.

Segments in 2005 that beat earlier estimates include food ($14.7 billion), veterinary care ($8.7 billion), and services like grooming and boarding ($2.5 billion).

The APPMA estimates that 63 percent of households own a pet of some sort, and that 39.2 percent of American households own 74 million dogs.

Market Research Report:
Check out the Pet Industry Strategic Outlook by Dillon Media.

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