With Friskies, Nestle hopes to lap up growing demand for cat-food products

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on July 12, 2019 Published on July 12, 2019

File photo   -  Reuters

The pet food arm of Nestle SA, is looking to bring its global cat food brand Friskies to India

The pet foods market in the country could well be dominated by the dog foods segment, but the growing popularity of cats as pets among millennial “pet-parents” is making companies sit up and take notice.

Reflecting the trend, Purina Petcare India, the pet food arm of Nestle SA, is looking to bring its global cat food brand Friskies to India. The Swiss major had set up its pet food subsidiary in India last year with the launch of its dog food brands — Supercoat and Pro Plan.

Gaurav Kwatra, Director at Purina Petcare India, said that conventionally, dogs have been the pets of choice in India, and therefore, the consumption of dog food has been much higher (than cat food). But that’s now changing. “Awareness around nutrition and demand for quality cat food have also been steadily rising. In markets like Mumbai and Bengaluru, consumption of cat food is estimated to be growing faster than dog food. Keeping in mind the growing trend, we decided to address the need-gap and introduce our cat food brand Friskies in the market,” he added.

Cat-food range

The company plans to bring its dry cat-food range to India with variants such as Kitten Discoveries, Seafood Sensations and Surfin Favourites. Depending on the pack size and variant, the price ranges from ₹190 to ₹1,850.

Kwatra added that though the cat-food business in India is at a nascent stage, it is growing at a fast clip.

The company is banking on its strong distribution network across the country to retail the new brand. Talking about the overall distribution strategy, he said, “As of now, we are more focussed on the larger cities and currently retailing across more than 1,500 pet stores and vet clinics in 23 cities.”

Globally, pet food is a significant business for Nestle SA and contributed about 14 per cent of its overall sales in 2018. According to Euromonitor International, the Indian pet food market stood at ₹18.1 billion in 2018, in terms of retail sales value.

It estimates that the sector would grow at a CAGR of 17.1 per cent between 2019 and 2024.

“Modern pet owners are not just their owners. They often term themselves as ‘pet parents’, spending more money on their pets than previous generations,” Kwatra pointed out.

Published on July 12, 2019

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