ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Where pets are to be found, so are profits. It's a business strategy that has allowed Mars Inc. to multitask as one of three leading food companies (along with Nestlé and J.M. Smucker) that in combination control two-thirds of the U.S. pet food market.
Although primarily associated in the pet industry context with its mass-market pet food and treat brands, Mars is also a leader in veterinary channel pet food sales through its Royal Canin Veterinary Diet offerings, and well as in pet channel specialty pet food sales through the acquisition of high-end brands such as Nutro in 2007 and Natura in 2014.
To further diversify its revenue streams, Mars has also steadily increased its presence in the veterinary services segment. Mars Petcare for a decade has owned Banfield, which operates many of its 800+ primary care clinics inside PetSmart locations. In 2015, Mars acquired BluePearl, the nation's largest chain of companion animal specialty and emergency care clinics. The company's recently announced acquisition of pet health company VCA for $9.1 billion is the latest move to expand the Mars Petcare business portfolio, already the company's largest and fastest-growing division. The VCA deal adds nearly 800 animal hospitals to Mars' veterinary services presence.
In U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2016-2017, market research firm Packaged Facts identifies the veterinary services segment as the pet industry's second largest, with $24 billion in revenue compared to $30 billion for pet food. Despite ranking second in size, the veterinary channel's year-to-year sales growth doubled that of pet food (at 6% vs. 2.7%) in 2015, and since 2013 has outpaced pet food, now that the pet "humanization" and corresponding pet food premiumization trends are yesterday's news.
Veterinary clinics, moreover, are a niche but influential channel for specialty pet food sales: Packaged Facts National Pet Owner Survey data show that 7% of dog owners and 5% of cat owners purchase veterinarian formula/prescription pet foods. When looking for guidance on which brands to feed their pets, especially given the central role that wellness positionings play in the highly competitive superpremium pet food segment, who better for consumers to trust than their vet?
The VCA deal "gives Mars further latitude for growth beyond the mass-market product arena," observes David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. That's especially important because it's not just kibble sales that have flattened in the mass market; the same is true for candy. Even in the case of Mars, with its globally iconic portfolio of chocolate and non-chocolate (sugar) candy brands, confectionery manufacturers face considerable challenges to growth, as noted in Packaged Facts' recent report on the Chocolate Candy Market in the U.S.
For candy, as for many of the top indulgence categories in packaged food retailing, a combination of market maturity, regulatory and public health pressures, epidemic-level weight and obesity concerns, heightened nutritional consciousness, and increasing adoption of healthier eating options all conspire against sales expansion.
So it's not purely a coincidence that Mars' acquisition of VCA coincides with the FDA's new rules on added sugar labeling, given that sugar is at the heart of the candy market (even if most would consider cacao its soul), and of candy's ageless appeal. But "pets have become the new favorite pick-me-up," comments David Sprinkle, "and are a healthy choice at that."
About the Packaged Facts Reports
U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2016-2017 estimates U.S. pet market retail sales and trends during the 2016-2017 period, overall and for four categories: veterinary services, pet food, nonfood pet supplies, and non-medical pet services. It examines the most important developments shaping the market and their implications, including external and internal market drivers, industry trends (mergers and acquisitions, marketing, new product development, etc.), retail channel trends, and trends in pet ownership. View additional information about U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2016-2017, including purchase options, the abstract, table of contents, and related reports at Packaged Facts' website: http://www.packagedfacts.com/Pet-Outlook-9867916/.
Chocolate Candy Market in the U.S. examines the market for chocolate candy across the U.S. retail spectrum, and places the market in the larger context of the overall confectionery market, defined as the total U.S. market for chocolate/non-chocolate candy and gum. For more information on the report visit: http://www.packagedfacts.com/Chocolate-Candy-10268969/.
About Packaged Facts
Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased at our company website and are also available through MarketResearch.com.
For more essential insights from Packaged Facts be sure to follow us on Twitter and Google+. For infographics, tables, charts and other visuals, follow Packaged Facts on Pinterest.
Please link any media references to our reports or data to www.packagedfacts.com.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mars-incs-acquisition-of-vca--more-fidos-fewer-sugars-300390169.html
SOURCE Packaged Facts