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Tuesday 28 June 2022

NZ Natural Pet Food Co’s export bet

27th September 2021 By Monique Steele | | @foodtickernz

Coromandel pet food startup NZ Natural Pet Food Co hit the market four years ago with a dual launch in Singapore and New Zealand but it is North America where the company is now going for growth.

Air-dried and freeze-dried ranges of MEOW and WOOF food and treats.

Founders Amber Cordero and Jacqueline Taylor, finalists in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 competition, cited the US as dominating plans for the next 12 months, with the pandemic pet ownership boom and increasing interest in New Zealand produced pet food products.

The business sold its dried MEOW and WOOF food and treats brands in 11 international markets including the US, Australia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Canada.

“We want to really focus on our key markets this next year,” managing director Cordero told the Ticker.

“We also have plans to further expand our range of products.”

The company had seen “a lot of growth” in its Canadian market it entered in 2019 and since launching in the USA in February this year, it was now available in 150 American retailers and “continuing to grow.”

“The New Zealand brand is great and it helps to set us apart from other companies that are in the global market,” Cordero said. 

Pauanui Beach-based pet food company NZ Natural Pet Food Co founders (l-r) Amber Cordero and Jacqueline Taylor.

Its contract manufactured WOOF and MEOW brands were made of 100% New Zealand-sourced meat and vegetables and a small majority of imported vitamin, mineral and supplement ingredients.

“From the quality of our ingredients, the high standards of our meat industry, and the clean, green image our country has overseas are all things that have helped tell this story,” Cordero said.

This also helped attract global investor interest to the antipodes. Two New Zealand pet food companies have been sold to international private equity firms in the last six months, comprising Natural Pet Food Group’s takeover by KKR in May, and last week’s sale by the shareholders of Mount Maunganui-founded Ziwi to China’s FountainVest Partners.

NZ Natural Pet Food Co was launched after Cordero and Taylor attended the SuperZoo trade show in 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they learned about the benefits of freeze-dried pet food and saw a gap in the market for a premium product, as close to raw as possible.

The pair said they had been approached by private equity interested in the business, and although they were open to the idea of investment, were not actively seeking partners at present.

“We have been approached by a few private equity investors,” Cordero said.

“We aren’t necessarily needing a cash injection, but would prefer experience and mentorship that could help us to expand and grow.

“It is something we are open to but would have to be with the right group.”



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