Nestle Sees Demand for Premium Pet Food Driving Purina Growth

(Bloomberg) -- For Nestle Chairman Paul Bulcke, it’s only common sense for the Swiss owner of Purina to push further into the pet food market.

“Pets are increasingly part of family, and pets do eat,” said Bulcke. So of course, he told Bloomberg News during a visit to Brasilia, pet owners want to enhance their companions’ quality of life.

Indeed, Nestle will be looking to stand out from competitors by offering premium pet food products “and a portfolio that is related to lifestyle.”

Investors have renewed their focus on high-end pet food after General Mills Inc. paid about $8 billion to acquire Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. last month. Nestle has said its Purina division is a central focus as the company divests slower-growing units like its U.S. confectionery business.

Pet food is the only North American food segment that Euromonitor International predicts will expand by more than 2 percent on average over the next five years.

Bulcke, who spoke at the sidelines of a company event, said that while pets have long been pampered in Europe and the Americas, Asian countries are catching up with the trend as well.

“We are a company that, by the nature of our strategic purpose, is always going to try to differentiate through premium,” he said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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