Natures Menu, which has a factory at Watton, UK, is poised to move into a new £12 million ($15.6 million – €13 million) plant at Snetterton, UK, in September with plans to release new pet food products and push further into the cat sector.The company, which produces healthy food primarily for dogs, saw sales grow by 19.7% up to £30.5 million ($40 million – €33.7 million) in the year to 31 March.
Managing director Craig Taylor said: “We have grown the business, in the last five years, from £10 million ($13 million – €11 million) to about £34 million ($44.4 million – €37.6 million) [in the current year] and the target is to achieve £70 million ($91 million – €77 million) in the next five.“We have seen good growth but there is plenty of opportunity in a very large market, which is worth around £2.7 billion ($3.5 billion – €3 billion) in the UK.“Snetterton is a major investment but our plans are to continue that expansion in the future.”
The business now employs 213 people across the UK with 174 of those based in Norfolk and Mr Taylor said as the firm expandes it would create more jobs.Mr Taylor said a change in attitudes, with people moving from being mere pet owners to “pet parents”, had helped the company’s rise in recent years.
He also credited part of the success to raising brand awareness and he said the firm was now the fourth biggest brand in the specialist pet food sector. As well as stores such as Pets At Home, Natures Menu products are sold in Waitrose, but the business is not yet planning to move fully into the grocery market, he added. To help increase sales off the back of higher production, a ten man sales team has been hired with members across the country.
On top of that Mr Taylor said the firm has strengthened its commercial management team and he said he was pleased it has been able to attract recruits from global brands to Norfolk. With Natures Menu sending out 1,000 deliveries a day from its five distribution sites, keeping business running smoothly during the major development has been a priority. Mr Taylor said: “We have a team of half a dozen people who focus on Snetterton. It is a £15 million ($19.6 million – €16.6 million) project when you add in the equipment – so it’s a large one to manage.”