India is a rapidly growing market for pet food consumption. As per the report, ‘India Pet Food Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2019’, published by the TechSci Research, the pet food market in India is projected to cross USD 270 million by 2019. Major factors driving the demand for pet food in the country include rising number of nuclear families particularly in urban areas; increasing pet ownership and rising per capita disposable income.
Over the years, there has been tremendous change from traditional pet treats which might be filled with chemicals and deadly toxins. Now, we see retail shelves stacked with packaged, ready-to-eat food products that are manufactured to provide complete nutrition to pets. As the pet food segment is organizing, the trend has given ample opportunities to pet food companies to come up with the wide range of products. In fact, many companies have start offering customized food service especially for dogs at a reasonable price. Doggiedabbas is one such company which offers pet food customized as per the dog’s health requirement. Their price starts from Rs 99. Apart from Doggiedabba; there are many companies which are reinventing the retail shelves with their innovative products.
Pet Food Retailing: The Changing Trends!
PetSutra is one such player which ventured into pet care segment with a vision to create a leading brand which caters to the ecosystem of pets and pet parenting globally. Speaking on brand inception, Amol Sharma, Founder, PetSutra.com shared, “We felt that there was a huge gap in terms of information available to pet parents about the behavioural, nutritional and lifestyle needs of pets, and it is our ambition to fill this gap using technology and world-class products.”
Sharma started PetSutra with online space but aspire to work with offline retailers too with better information and products as they are critical to the ecosystem. As per Sharma lack of awareness on nutritional profile of foods and various lifestyle needs of pets is the first challenge from a consumer perspective.
“As the consumer is not demanding, the retailer sees little incentive to completely stock-out sub-standard products, as that is critical for the retailer's survival. The distribution system in India also is not at par with the FMCG Industry, and systems and processes are not cutting edge,” said Sharma. PetSutra has already raised a significant amount of funding from undisclosed sources.
Echoing with Sharma, Chaitanya Jain, Founder, Choostix said, “The initial challenge of every pet food retailing company in India is not having people believe in your products, they still consider giving home cooked food to their pooch animals without analyzing what diet their pet should take. The second challenge we faced was the tough competition from International players which were offering pet food products with deep pockets and discounts. Thankfully as we are experiencing the changing trends of Indian market added with government schemes for domestic businesses.”
Choostix as a product is available in the market for 15 years and has 150 plus distributors pan India. The brand is available in all the supermarket chains such as like Walmart India, Metro cash and carry India, Hypercity India, Big Bazaar, Foodhall, SRS Value Bazaar, twenty-four seven etc.
Rashee Kuchroo started Doggie Dabbas when her Labrador was gaining weight when it was majorly fed on kibble or packaged dog food. “I made the decision to change his diet and the results were there for everyone to see. Based on the results many people approached me to create a diet plan for their dogs too, and that is how Doggie Dabbas began,” said Rashee Kuchroo, MD, Doggie Dabbas.
The brand is available in India and international market through retail shops & via online portals. Doggie Dabbas treats are also available in USA via Amazon.com.
Speaking on market challenges Kuchroo asserts “I feel like customers are open and wanting to try all natural products. However, as small companies providing pure treats and food at the prices that retail shops expect is a little difficult. The market is changing slowly but surely with many industry insiders understanding the benefits of feeding your pets correctly,”
The Profit Quotient
Since we know the Indian pet industry is growing market. Seeing it still, many budding entrepreneurs’ faces the issue of having firm faith in their idea of serving pets and their needs. However, do bear in mind that every industry has its own pros and cons, only entrepreneurs know how they can make their idea successful, so believe in your idea and strive hard towards the goals you want. Keep in mind, it is a labour intensive industry and the investments for plants & machinery are high coupled with the right education.
Speaking on investments and margins Sharma said, “Be sure of the market segment you are catering too, and whether you are looking to make money right from the beginning or are you willing to invest in building loyal customers. Do not straddle between the two thoughts as customer acquisition is tricky and requires sustained messaging and communication which entails an associated cost.”
Food as a category is low in Gross Margins while all other Pet Care categories have significantly higher margins, so balance your portfolio well. However, to begin with look at a basic investment of about Rs.1 Crore and you should be able to break even in less than 18 months.
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