Nestle enters Indian pet care market with dog food under Supercoat brand

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New Delhi: Here’s news to set the dogs drooling. After selling food products in packets to millions of Indians for more than a century, Nestle SA now wants to sell packaged food for canines in the country.

The Swiss packaged food maker on Monday said it will sell pet care products in India, starting with premium packaged food for dogs. This is the first time Nestle has entered an entirely new business segment in India on its own since entering the market in 1912.

The firm has also incorporated a new entity, Purina Petcare India Pvt. Ltd, which will operate as a subsidiary of Nestle SA, and will be associated with Nestle India Ltd, the Swiss firm’s main business in India.

The new entity has launched one premium dog food product in India under the Supercoat brand. “The Supercoat range of complete and balanced food offers a wholesome combination of high quality natural ingredients free from added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives,” the company said in a statement. The products will initially be sold through retail outlets across 12 cities in India.

Mint had on 16 February 2017 reported Nestle’s plans to enter the pet care market in India.

Pet care is a relatively new business for Nestle globally. The Swiss multinational entered the segment after it acquired Ralston Purina in December 2001 and spun off the business as a separate entity—Nestle Purina PetCare Co. Besides food and nutrition products for dogs and cats, the company also sells specialized veterinary diet products.

In 2016, pet care as a business segment accounted for Swiss franc 12.1 billion out of Nestle SA’s total sales of Swiss franc 89.5 billion, according to the company’s annual report. The Americas are the largest revenue contributor to Nestle’s pet care business, generating revenue of Swiss franc 8.5 billion in 2016.

Pet care is a small industry in India. The size of the pet care market, including food and other pet products, in India stood at Rs1,712 crore in 2016. Mars Inc., Indian Broiler Group, Stylam Sydney, Cargill Inc and Himalaya Drug Co. are the key pet care product sellers in India.

“With estimated 19 million pets, the pet food industry in India shows huge potential and is expected to double in size in the next five years. There is an increasing awareness about pet nutrition largely driven by increasing digitization making it easier to gain knowledge and owing to the great efforts by leading veterinarians across the country,” Purina Petcare India said.

Varindra Sewak, managing director, Purina Petcare India, said the company will bring its global portfolio to India, aiming to “become a significant player in the rapidly growing pet food category”.

Globally, Nestle Purina’s brands include Beneful, Fancy Feast, Friskies and Purina One. It sells 16 products for dogs and 13 for cats. In the early 2000s, Purina had tried selling its products through distributors in India, but its efforts weren’t successful.livemint