Monday, April 23, 2018

People Food Goes To The Dogs (And Cats) With Smucker's Purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish

With Smucker's purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish, could people food be going to the dogs?
Unlike its cat food category, J.M. Smucker's people food business is in a bit of a jam. As Americans put more thought into what they eat, packaged food sales are stagnant and even declining. And that could explain Smucker's purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish (Ainsworth Pet Nutrition).

For years, cat food has tried to sound like people food. You know... "white meat chicken breast," "garden greens," "wild caught fish" and "cooked in a delicate sauce..." But now, things seem to be going the other way. Could people food really be going to the dogs (and cats)?

Smucker's purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish is the second buyout by a large company of a premium pet food manufacturer this year. In February, General Mills announced plans to purchase Blue Buffalo.

Candy Makers Sweet On Cat Food

Smucker isn't the only manufacturer of food for people that's sweet on cat food. Mars, best known for M&Ms and Skittles, makes Whiskas, Royal Canin, Nutro, Greenies, Iams and Eukanuba.

Nestle (think Butterfinger and KitKat candy bars and hot chocolate) makes Fancy Feast, ProPlan, Purina One, Friskies, Purina Cat Chow and Muse.

In 2015 Smucker purchased Big Heart Pet Brands, which makes 9Lives, Meow Mix, Pounce treats, Nature's Recipe and Natural Balance.

So why would a company that started more than 100 years ago with apple butter and other sweet fruit products, have an appetite for a seventh company that makes cat food?

While the market for jams and jellies may be spread thin, a press release announcing Smucker's purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish notes that "pet food and pet snacks have become the largest center-of-the-store category in the US Food and Beverage market, generating over $30 billion in annual sales across all channels." In supermarkets, it's pet food, not people food, that's one of the fastest-growing categories, the press release adds.

At Smucker, it's not just the fastest-growing category. With the acquisition of Rachel Ray Nutrish, it's the company's largest.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition also makes Dad's dry cat food and private label brands for pet food retailers.

Today's Recommendation
Tiki Cat is not owned by a huge
corporation, at least not yet. And
cats love it. 


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