National

Mars India plans to double pet food manufacturing capacity

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

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Mars India has plans to double its manufacturing capacity for pet care brands as it is widening its portfolio with the launch of a super-premium pet food brand Eukanuba.

The company already markets Pedigree and Whiskas in the country and wants to expand the reach of its brands through structured distribution expansion, introduction of smaller packs besides stepping up on awareness programmes among pet owners.

The pet food market in India is pegged at about ₹700 crore and growing at about 20-25 per cent.

PVV Srinivasa Rao, Managing Director, Mars India said that Eukanuba is a specialised and a super-premium pet food brand catering to the unique needs of the pets to help them get a higher nutrient quotient.

Eukanuba’s price is about a little more than double than that of the price of Pedigree in India, and will be sold through specialist channels of veterinarians and petshops.

“India will be among the few countries that will now manufacture super-premium pet food brand Eukanuba as we have been focused on evolving our manufacturing capabilities in the last few years. We will also be using India as an export hub for Eukanuba for markets such as the South-East Asian markets,” he added.

Mars could also evaluate manufacturing brand Whiskas in the country. So far, the company has been manufacturing Pedigree in the country. Asked about the overall capacity expansion plans, Rao said that currently, the plant in Hyderabad is at nearly 90 per cent capacity utilisation. “We will look at undertaking a minor capacity expansion in 2016 which will increase our capacity by about 40-50 per cent. In 2017-18, we will undertake a bigger capacity expansion that will almost double our pet food manufacturing capacity in India,” he said.

Expansion plan

The company will invest about $10-15 million in the next three years on capacity expansion plan. Rao said that the growing number of pet population and growing awareness among pet owners have been the key drivers for growth of the pet food market.

“We have a structured distribution network in about 100 towns and we want to increase this to about 200 in the coming year. We are currently available across 20,000 outlets and want to increase it to about 50,000 outlets.” he said adding that the company is undertaking several initiatives to not only grow awareness of its brands among pet owners but also veterinarians. The company recently launched smaller pack of Pedigree priced at ₹20 for 100 gm to woo pet owners to the prepared food category. Rao added that in a bid to grow the penetration of its pet food brands, the company has kept prices steady.

Published on November 02, 2015

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