Mars rolled out plans to establish a third stage of its pet food production complex in Rostov Oblast, Russia, to boost production by 60% to 95,000 tonnes per year
The new production capacities are slated to become operational in the 4th quarter of 2023. The investment cost stands at 4 billion roubles (US$ 55 million).
“We plan to produce full-ration wet pet food. This is primarily about our headliner – Whiskas. This is our main brand in Russia,” said Mikhail Rebrov, director of the pet food department of Mars in Russia, adding that with the new project, the company aims to meet 40% of the demand of cats and dogs in southern Russia.
Under the capacity expansion project, some already operating facilities will also be modernised, said Konstantin Rachalovsky, Rostov Oblast Agricultural Minister. Mars originally launched pet food production in Rostov Oblast in 2014. To date, the company invested 6 billion roubles ($ 90 million) in this complex, which manufactures products under such brands as Whiskas, KitKat, Pedigree, Chappi, Sheba, and some others.
Russian pet food market experiences steady growth. In 2020, the overall sales increased by 10.1%, reaching 661,000 tonnes, was shown in a study conducted by Euromonitor International. In monetary terms, the sales totalled 223 billion roubles ($ 3.7 billion).
The market growth accelerated during the pandemic. Local analysts project that the upward trend will continue in the coming years, as rising urbanisation and population ageing tend to boost the number of pets in Russian households. Growing awareness about pets’ health also pushes pet owners to abandon the practice of feeding them ‘from the human table’.
The other largest market player Nestle Purina PetCare also harbours expansion plans in Russia. The company said it would build its first Siberian factory in 2023 with a designed production capacity of 75,000 tonnes of pet food per year. The investment cost is 10 billion roubles ($ 150 million).
The company already runs a factory in Central Russia, where it produces pet food under a broad range of brands, including Pro Plan, Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, Purina One, Friskies, Felix, Darling, and others.
Alexey Korneev, an analyst of the Russian consulting agency Finam, explained that with this project, Nestle wants to curb logistics costs on delivering pet food to final customers in Siberia. Korneev also added that production cost in Siberia, in general, are lower than in the European parts of Russia.