Mars Inc. Gets Boost From Locked-Down Brazilians Embracing Pets

Brazil, the world’s third-largest pet market, has been a bright spot for Mars Inc. after the American chocolate icon expanded into pet food.

Mars Petcare’s Brazilian nutrition sales outpaced the unit’s global growth last year as lockdowns spurred more adoptions and boosted demand for premium pet food, while government aid supported cheaper products, said country manager Jose Carlos Rapacci.

With Brazilians seeking companionship at home last year, the number of dogs and cats rose 2% and 3.8%, respectively, data compiled by Mars show. Brazil still has huge potential as less than half of the caloric needs of cats and dogs are supplied by industrialized food, Rapacci said.

“In developing countries this percentage is close to 100% or above with overfed pets,” he said in an interview.

In the $130 billion global pet market, Brazil ranks third after the U.S. and China, with sales of $7.3 billion, a 14% increase from 2019, according to Brazil Pet Institute. Pet shop chain Petz went public in one of the biggest IPOs in Sao Paulo last year.

While lockdowns didn’t help demand for chocolate to the same extent, industry-wide sales probably rose about 2% for the year, said Harvey Millar, who heads Mars Wrigley in Brazil.

Without providing company figures, he said Mars Wrigley grew above the national average even considering that the pandemic hit just after it concluded an investment to produce Snickers in Sao Paulo state. The company is upbeat on its prospects after adapting sales channels to reach consumers at home, Millar said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.