Opportunities for mid-market PE in the Pet Food sector

“The UK is facing a puppy shortage as demand for new pets among lonely workers and harassed families forced to stay at home during the pandemic sends prices for the animals soaring” (FT, 22 May 2020).

Brits have long been known for their fondness for pets, and the COVID lockdown has reinforced this. Pet Food opportunities are now appearing in the mid-market, and below is a summary (2 minute read) of some of the key questions to consider for operators and investors in this market;

  • Am I a brand, a contract manufacturer, or both? How am I perceived in the market? If I am considering moving from contract manufacturing to branded, how feasible is this, and what will it cost?

  • What segments of the market do I cover? Are there opportunities to expand horizontally (e.g. from mass-market to premium) or vertically (e.g. from food to treats)? If so, do I have the necessary channels, or could I build them?

  • How do I generate consumer pull-through demand? What are my USPs, why are they defensible, and what will keep me listed?

  • What are my routes to market? How strong are my relationships with retail buyers, and do I have the right relationships for my proposed growth strategy? If I need to expand my channels, what will the cost/practicality of this be?

  • Is my factory suitable for my proposed growth strategy, and how resilient and flexible is my supply chain?

  • Is my brand and operation elastic enough to jump into the fast-growing services sector; veterinarian, grooming, daycare?

We hope this provides some food for thought (please excuse the pun). Stay well, and if you would like to discuss any of the issues described, please contact either;

Tom Raymond, 07762 386 216, traymond@armstrong-ts.com

• Peter Cookson, 07871 425 467, pcookson@armstrong-ts.com

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