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Reports: P&G shareholder suggests sale of Iams pet food brand

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble may be able to sell its Iams pet food unit to Del Monte Foods Co., according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that P&G CEO A.G. Lafley was under pressure to improve the company’s business and that shareholder HighMark Capital Management said it could increase its share price by selling some assets, including Iams. Del Monte, HighMark said, would be a "logical" buyer for Iams, valued at around $2.5 billion, because it’s looking to grow its pet food business.

Del Monte announced earlier this month the sale of its consumer products business to Philippines-based Del Monte Pacific Ltd. so that it could focus on its pet products division. Del Monte currently owns such brands as Meow Mix, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk-Bone, 9Lives and others.

 

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Survey finds widespread misconceptions about pet food, health

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — Many pet owners are confused about pet nutrition and industry standards, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by petMD, found that nearly 80% of respondents were aware of the importance of a balanced diet for their pets, but less than half had ever checked the label of their pet’s food to make sure it met industry-wide standards.

"Checking for the [Association of American Feed Control Officieals] ‘complete and balanced’ statement on a pet food label is one of the quickest and easiest ways for owners to ensure that their pets are getting at least the minimum nutrition they need," petMD veterinary adviser Jennifer Coates said. "Contrary to what some pet parents may think, foods that do not adhere to these standards are readily available in many retail outlets."

In addition to not checking pet food labels for the AAFCO statement, many pet owners are confused about the importance of life stage diets for pets, with only 50% of them understanding that they should choose an adult maintenance pet food for an adult pet. Nearly 25% said they would select an "all life stages" diet for an adult pet, even though such diets can promote obesity and other problems in adult animals.

Furthermore, 62% of respondents thought that on average, a balanced diet for a pet involved 10 or fewer nutrients, even though according to current research, more than 50 nutrients must be present in the right amounts and ratios to provide complete and balanced nutrition and optimal health.

 

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Dollar General boasts best prices at shelf

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — For the second year in a row, Dollar General has topped Kantar Retail’s opening price point survey, narrowly beating out Walmart. 

“It’s clear that the low-income shopper has an array of credible options when it comes to selecting outlets that meet her basket requirements," stated Leon Nicholas, SVP Kantar Retail. "As more retailers try to engage with this shopper, it seems likely that the portfolio of options will grow along with the subsequent competition between retailers. Retailers who are able to provide both actual and perceived price leadership, in part through Opening Price Points, will win wallet share with this large shopper segment."

According to Kantar Retail, Dollar General’s total basket was the least expensive among retailers surveyed, edging out Walmart Supercenter’s basket by just 12 cents.

This represents a substantial closing of the gap in the survey conducted last year, when Dollar General’s basket of OPP items was 18% cheaper than Walmart’s. The edible grocery and HBA sub-baskets drove Dollar General’s basket lead over Walmart. And while Walmart’s basket came in a close second overall, it recorded the least expensive non-edible sub-basket by a sizable margin.

Conversely, Target’s total OPP basket was the most expensive, registering 48% more than Dollar General’s basket and 12% greater than the next highest-priced competitor, Aldi.

“Retailers’ use of temporary price cuts did not affect the overall outcome of our survey. For the most part, all the retailers in this study achieved their OPP positions through everyday pricing," Nicholas said. "Private labels, however, had a more significant impact than in previous iterations of this study, as the retailer with the least expensive sub-basket achieved that standing primarily through private labels in each case.”

The OPP survey, now in its third year, determines how select retailers meet the grocery and consumable needs of shoppers looking for the lowest shelf prices to fulfill their basket requirements.

In this year’s study, Kantar Retail selected 21 categories across the edible grocery, non-edible grocery and HBA segments. In a change from last year, Walgreens was left out of the study due to a lack of opening price point competitiveness in previous years; all other retailers from last year were included. All data was collected in the southern New Hampshire/northern Massachusetts area in October 2013. For each retailer, Kantar Retail assessed the lowest price point available to the shopper in that category, excluding trial sizes.

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