Whitebridge Pet Brands, a St. Louis-based company that offers natural and minimally processed pet foods, recently completed its acquisition of Grizzly Pet Products, a maker of cat and dog supplements that are made primarily from wild Alaskan fish oils. Pet Product News (PPN) reached out to Olivier Amice, CEO of Whitebridge Pet Brands, to further discuss this development.
Pet Product News: Why did you invest in Grizzly Pet Products? How will it strengthen your business?
Olivier Amice: We are always looking for companies and brands that complement our existing portfolio and have good growth potential at retail. Through research, we discovered this amazingly fast-growing and, we believe, untapped category of pet supplements, which led us to conversations with Grizzly Pet Products, a leader in that category.
The Grizzly business originated from the discovery that, though a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, portions of the wild-caught salmon destined for human consumption were routinely thrown away. They were the first company to recognize that wild-caught fish contained higher levels of essential fatty acids than farmed fish and are better for the pet. In partnership with human-grade processing plants in Alaska, they were able to extract this healthy nutrient and develop products for dogs and cats, thereby using the entire fish.
At Whitebridge Pet Brands, we want to help people bring health and happiness to pets through better nutrition, which we believe is natural and minimally processed foods, complements and treats, formulated to the specific needs of dogs and cats. Supplements were a natural extension of our portfolio, and Grizzly products delivers on our promise to both pets and people.
In addition to a strong brand and talented team, the Grizzly acquisition includes an innovative manufacturing plant in Seattle, where we will be able to continue to bring new and exciting products to market.
PPN: How will your most recent acquisition help your company better serve the pet specialty retail channel?
Amice: We believe in a philosophy of Better Together, for pets and pet parents, our own people and our retail partners, each complementing the other to build a better business. We bring efficiency to our customers with one basket of winning brands.
As part of a larger portfolio of products dedicated to pet solutions, we can bring more resources to sales and marketing support.
Most pet supplements are purchased online, and consumers take a DIY approach to solving their pet’s health problems. Setting a clear channel strategy will help brick-and-mortar retailers remain competitive.
We focus heavily on innovation and, with the acquired capabilities of the Grizzly plant, can accelerate the brand’s development to reach more pets and pet parents.
PPN: What factors into the company’s decision making when determining what types of brands would be a good fit for your portfolio?
Amice: We know from personal experience and published research that pet ownership brings both physical and mental health benefits to people. Simply said, pets make people healthier and happier, and the benefit is reciprocal.
At Whitebridge, we want to help people bring health and happiness to pets through better nutrition, which we believe is natural and minimally processed foods, complements, treats, and supplements formulated to the specific needs of dogs and cats. All potential brand acquisitions are viewed through that lens.
PPN: The pet industry has seen a flurry of mergers and acquisitions activity since the end of 2020. How do you think this activity impacts the pet industry overall? And what does it demonstrate about the health of the industry?
Amice: Thankfully, the pet industry has not been impacted in the same way that others have, and while some segments have fared better than others, overall, we remain healthier than ever with a brighter outlook than in previous years. The influx of new interest and, with it, additional funding supports new infrastructure, better science and real innovation, and we are excited to be part of it.