Indian pet food industry needs single nodal authority for better performance, says Royal Canin MD

The government is focusing on manufacturing in India, but despite the fact that 60-70% of the pet food industry is still dependent on imports, says Satinder Singh, Managing Director (Managing Director) at Royal Canin.

Satinder Singh, Managing Director (Managing Director), Royal Canin

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the pet food industry in India resulting in a large gap between supply and demand. But now the industry is regaining its stride and growing at a healthy pace. Things are getting back to normal and the pet food industry is doing well in providing access to quality, nutrient-based pet foods.

First post spoke with Satinder Singh, Managing Director (Managing Director) of Royal Canin, India, about the Indian pet food industry and the effect of Covid-19 on the pet food industry of company. Edited excerpts:

What effects has COVID-19 had on the pet food industry? How is Royal Canin dealing with the situation?

The pet food industry has seen a tailwind in the category due to a number of factors during COVID-19. Firstly, the number of pet adoptions saw a big increase as people sought companionship throughout the long months of isolation during lockdowns, and realized that pets are the best when it comes to pets. of company. During the initial phase of the closures, pet food was not listed under the “Essentials” category, which led to an interruption in the supply of pet food. We resolved this issue quickly by working with government authorities to ensure pet food was included in the “Essentials” category.

India is currently facing a pet food shortage. How is the pet food industry coping with access to quality, nutrient-based pet food?

There was a huge gap between supply and demand due to panic buying of pet food among pet parents. The pet food industry is unable to meet demand due to supply chain disruptions and poor logistics services.

On the one hand, several factors were driving the demand for pet food, including the increase in the number of pet owners, the increase in per capita disposable income and the increase in the number of nuclear families, especially in urban areas, but on the other hand, there are some factors that have led to supply disruption.

A strict regulatory framework on the importation of pet food has imposed restrictions on the supply of packaged food and raw materials, particularly in geographical areas affected by avian influenza. It is common knowledge that there was an outbreak of bird flu in Europe for most of 2021.

The shortage of containers for shipping materials has impacted pet food imports for most industry players.

Another disruptive factor was the unavailability of labor during Covid.

What is Royal Canin’s growth strategy?

At Royal Canin we believe in our goal to make the world a better place for cats and dogs. Pet health is of the utmost importance to us, and we strive to spread this knowledge to all of our consumers and customers. We keep “Pet Health” at the forefront of everything we do in our Go-to-Market strategy.

Instead of our strategy, we are connected to a large network of veterinarians through them, we run various webinars and events for pet parents highlighting different aspects of pet nutrition, health issues pet health such as infectious diseases in pets and the interpretation of pet language and behaviors, etc. The company, in association with several animal welfare organizations, also runs targeted animal welfare campaigns on key small animal issues in identified cities across India.

What do you think of the absence of a coherent regulatory framework for animal health?

The regulatory framework for pet food with a similar approach to human food is necessary to unlock the huge potential of the pet food industry. Current challenges prevailing in the industry, such as a highly ambiguous regulatory environment, isolated government policies focused specifically on livestock and animal feed (cattle feed), lack of a uniform regulatory framework, higher pet food taxation, lack of a single nodal authority, and low awareness among pet owners, society, and fraternity. The government is focusing on manufacturing in India, but despite this, 60-70% of the pet food industry is still dependent on imports.

We need to bring all stakeholders together to create an environment conducive to the growth of this industry.

The pet food industry is not heard by many, what kind of challenges do you face and how do you deal with them?

India has 30 million cats and dogs as pets and around 60 million strays.

There are many problems starting from basic knowledge to keep the pet, underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of quality services to keep a pet. Low awareness of the benefits of nutrition, as the overall calorie conversion is very low at 5%, and affordability to obtain the best nutrition and veterinary services is a concern for a large population. This means that even today pets are mostly fed homemade food.

On the supply side, high import duties for imported products, shortages of quality ingredients for locally manufactured products, overall high taxation and a complex regulatory environment make it difficult.

India has a lot of potential and the focus should be on building the foundation by educating pet parents, elevating the veterinary industry and breeders, improving the physical reach of our products and building a stronger long-term supply chain.

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