PetAg Analysis

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Consumer Habits

There is little to no data in the public domain concerning the consumer habits of pet care professionals. However, it has often been noted that those who go into the pet care professions are most often pet-lovers themselves, and based on that, we have extracted the following useful data points.

GENERAL CONSUMER HABITS

  • Those in the pet care industry (groomers, veterinarians, etc.) find it necessary to invest in high-quality supplies which serve a wide range of animals and breeds.
  • Pet owners, and by extension, successful pet care professionals, are tech-savvy, with 41% of consumers using the internet to research products before they shop.
  • In terms of health and wellness products, pet trends are closely following human ones, or even leading them. One of the first things pet owners — and, accordingly, pet care providers — look for is a label indicating that a product is "free from" a given substance (e.g., a GMO). This is particularly prevalent among Millennials (see below).

THE MILLENNIAL FACTOR

  • In urban pet supply stores, Millennials account for 50% of sales. Nearly half of this generation adopting pets as their "starter children" or even "fur babies" and 86% will splurge on products for their pets over themselves. Consequently, Millennial preferences will make a huge impact on the consumer habits of pet care professionals, whether or not they share their views.
  • Millennial pet owners are very "conscious about brand and ingredient integrity," as well as the social responsibility of the businesses they deal with.
  • Likewise, Millennial pet owners are drawn to "brands with stories and purpose," and those who want their business will be conscious of this in sourcing their own supplies.
  • Millennials also "gravitate to locally- and USA-made, boutique-feeling brands," according to one pet supply store. Again, wise pet care professionals will be, at the very least, conscious of this trend regardless of whether they share the sentiment.

Millennials are also focused on natural and/or organic products, which would affect the sourcing of their preferred pet care professionals:

  • 81% consider "BPA-free" to be an "essential pet product quality."
  • 78% consider natural/organic products to be essential.
  • 77% consider hypoallergenic shampoos critical.
  • 88% say the same about pet food.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Starting out, we were concerned with the breadth of suggested professions listed in the report criteria, as our instinct is that the consumer habits of a groomer might vary greatly from that of a zoologist. Therefore, we simply grouped all professions together under the general category of pet care professionals and sought pet industry publications which, by virtue of the types of articles they ran and specific advice they gave would give us insight into the consumer habits of the broad group. If a more targeted approach is needed, we can focus on one or more groups in future reports.

Our first thought was to find surveys of pet care personnel or business owners. However, we soon found that such surveys nearly always focused on their economic status and expectations, and none of the dozens scanned pertained to the project criteria. Consequently, we expanded our search to include more anecdotal articles written by industry insiders. Once again, we found little to no information on pet care industry sources like Pet Business Magazine, Pets+ Magazine, and Pet Product News. This remained the case even when we extended our search to include sources published outside of our nominal two-year window. The primary issue seems to be that the overwhelming majority of studies on consumer habits are either on pet owners themselves or involved B2B marketing to pet stores, which we understand to be outside of the report criteria.

Having found so little, we reconsidered our earlier assumption and conducted a quick series of research directed at finding any marketing insights regarding the individual professions listed as examples in the criteria. Apart from discovering a marketing firm that exclusively targets veterinarians (which did not provide any pertinent information in its public articles), this strategy also failed to yield useful results.

As a last ditch effort to bring useful data to the table, we operated under an assumption which is logical on the face of it, but which so far as we can tell has never been the subject of a study, namely, that those who work with pets generally do so out of a love for animals which is similar to that of pet owners. If this assumption is true, then we would expect to find similar consumer habits among both pet owners and pet care professionals, particularly since the latter so often recommend products to the former. Even where pet care professionals do not share their clients', they would feel compelled to purchase products acceptable to those clients to gain/retain their business.

We have made judgment calls about which data points are truly relevant; just for one example, pet owners may prefer brick-and-mortar stores when seeking supplies, but we do not see a clear logical line that suggests the professionals would have the same preference when seeking vendors.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Company Analysis - Cargill

Cargill targets farmers, manufacturers, distributors or retailers in over 100 countries, including the US. Cargill's target consumers are generally smaller companies, run by Caucasians of all ages. They usually don't have a college degree, have kids, and shop in bulk as their buying is B2B-based. Their basket size consists 11 items per basket. As a way of communication, Cargill has delivered numerous talks and presentations on the topic of sustainability, including speeches that were hosted by Executive Chairman Greg Page and President and CEO David MacLennan.

TARGET AUDIENCE FOR CARGILL

  • The company claims they are targeting the overall farming population globally "from a small feed outfit in the American Midwest to large feed mill operators and retailers, as well as smallholder farmers raising animals by the scoop in their backyards."
  • According to Cargill, the center of everything they do is their purpose "to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way" with the target audience being farmers and firms which are looking to implement sustainable agricultural practices, and are looking to innovate.
  • Another target audience according to Cargill's 2018 annual report are the customers in the food service, retail, consumer packaged goods and industrial sectors.
  • The brand is positioned in the marketplace as a strictly B2B brand that leverages a global network and offers the best animal nutrition solutions for their customers globally.
  • According to their press release, Cargill's positioning includes undertaking scalable commercial efforts to "nourish the world, protect the planet and enrich communities. This includes commitments to sustainable, safe nutrition; responsible production and land use; and improved farmer prosperity through training on sustainable agriculture practices and expanded market access."
  • Cargill's target consumers are generally smaller companies, run by Caucasians of all ages. They usually don't have a college degree, have kids, and shop in bulk as their buying is B2B-based. Their basket size consists 11 items per basket.
  • Overall, Cargill targets farmers, manufacturers, distributors or retailers in over 100 countries, including the US.

HOW CARGILL IS TARGETTING AND ENGAGING WITH THEIR AUDIENCE

  • In the United States Cargill has a very limited general marketing strategy when it comes to marketing to consumers as they are known as B2B company in the region. In some regions of the world, however, Cargill operates as a B2C company with products that they sell and market directly to consumers under a different brand name other than the Cargill name.
  • Cargill has been able to "position and differentiate itself as a world-leading supplier with core values that emphasize sustainability and help bring those products to household names such as McDonald’s."
  • Cargill is focused on promoting its guiding principles, which include a large section on sustainability and “being a responsible global citizen.”
  • As a way of communication, Cargill has delivered many talks and presentations on the topic of sustainability, including speeches that were hosted by Executive Chairman Greg Page and President and CEO David MacLennan.
  • One flaw in Cargill’s overall marketing communication is its lack of marketing efforts towards consumers which leads to the public not being unaware of its sustainability commitment.
  • On the other hand, Cargill’s business customers are conscious of its sustainability efforts based on the fact that the brand demonstrates it by numerous awards and designations, which include the award for McDonald’s Best of Sustainable Supply brand.
  • Cargill's social media profiles include Facebook (over 100,000 followers), Twitter (50,000 followers), and Instagram (15,900 followers).
  • On Facebook, Cargill communicates about their sustainable practices ("One-third of the food grown in the world is wasted. Here's one way we're working to address food waste and reduce its impact on the environment."), engagement opportunities for farmers ("We’re working with Techstars and Ecolab to accelerate food industry innovation for a second year with the Techstars Farm 🚜 to Fork 🍴 Accelerator."), and values ("We are determined to transform what’s possible in food, agriculture and nutrition while living our values.").
  • The same posts and communication are used across the other two channels.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Company Analysis - Grober

Regarding its pet nutrition/grooming/supplement market, Grober Nutrition provides milk replacer products for growing kid-goats, calves, foals, piglets, and other zoological species. Grober Nutrition dedicates itself to the nutrition of young animals and has been in existence for over 40 years, earning the company expertise in the process. The company's target audiences are owners and managers of dairy farms, but it reaches these target audiences through a wholesale distribution channel. According to Glassdoor, Grober Nutrition's estimated annual revenue is between US$50-US$100 million, yet the company was not recognized as a significant player in the global milk replacer market valued at US$188 million in 2018.

COMPANY ANALYSIS — GROBER NUTRITION

  • Grober Nutrition promotes itself as a milk replacer producer with extensive expertise, owing to its 40 years of experience in the industry. The company dedicates itself to the nutrition of young animals by producing milk replacer products for growing kid-goats, calves, foals, piglets, and other zoological species.
  • The company's headquarters is in Ontario, Canada, but it has a branch in the United States of America, which also fully operational.
  • Grober Nutrition's has over 40 pet nutrition/grooming/supplement products for 16 different animal species, including kid-goats, calves, foals, piglets, and others.
  • As per the customer reviews on its website, Grober Nutrition's target audience includes dairy farm owners and managers.
  • A report by American Dairy Men, which highlighted customer reviews of people that have used the products of Grober Nutrition for over 15 years, also showed that the company's existing customers are owners and managers of dairy farms.
  • However, on its website, Grober Nutrition does not sell directly to its customers, but invites prospective product buyers to choose from its list of extensive dealer network, or find a dealer nearby. This information indicates that Grober Nutrition reaches its customers through dealers.
  • According to Bloomberg's company profile of Grober Nutrition, the company uses wholesale distribution to sell its animal feeds, agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, and other farm supplies. This information also showed that Grober Nutrition reaches its target audiences through wholesale distributors.
  • Our investigation of Grober Nutrition's marketing strategy using ads intelligence tools like AdBeat and SimilarWeb revealed that the company has not launched any digital advertising campaign.
  • Grober Nutrition posts regular updates relevant to its business to engage interested audiences on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, where it has the most number of followers at 1,316.

GROBER NUTRITION — MARKET POSITIONING

  • According to a report by Glassdoor, Grober Nutrition's annual revenue is between US$50-US$100 million.
  • Grober Nutrition has a directory on its website called GroFacts, which the company dedicates to the publication of practical research and information to help readers manage their dairy farms better. Providing such useful info could be the company's attempt to stay on top of the minds of its target audience.
  • In 2008, Grober Nutrition introduced its "Grober Young Animal Development Centre (GYNDC)," which according to a report by Outdoor Farm Show, is the "favorite stop for guests looking for the latest in young animal raising technology and research."
  • As per another report by Outdoor Farm Show, the annual event, which attracts various farm owners, allows Grober Nutrition to test new products, experiment with innovations in housing and feeding technology of young animals, and refine management recommendations.
  • The GYNDC initiative by Grober Nutrition aligns with the company's practical research and information on its GroFacts directory, which shows that the company is positioning its business as one that provides useful info to help its target audiences.
  • In the US, Grober Nutrition operates with a 60,000-square foot facility, which the company began in November 2015. This plant specializes in three categories, including drying, evaporation, and dry blending of ingredients for the production of milk replacer products.
  • However, according to a 2018 milk replacer products' industry report by Market Watch, Grober Nutrition was not recognized as one of the most significant players of the industry, even though the report observed that the entire industry's value in 2018 was US$188 million.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

We began by researching the official directory of Grober Nutrition in search of info relevant to the company's pet nutrition/grooming/supplement market, and to locate info relevant to the company's branding, target audiences, and how it was engaging these audiences. This investigation revealed insights into the company's branding and its target audiences, based on the customer reviews it displayed on its website. Unfortunately, there was no information specific to the company's core target audiences or how it engaged them.

Therefore, we proceeded to examine reports by credible external directories, hoping to find information relevant to the target audiences of Grober Nutrition, how the company engaged these audiences, and how it positioned its brand in the marketplace. This time, we located reports by Bloomberg, Outdoor Farm Show, American Dairy Men, others, which provided insights into the needed information. From here, we found reports showing how Grober Nutrition reached its customers, who those customers were, and initiatives the company undertakes to position its brand as a thought leader to prospects through its annual "Grober Young Animal Development Centre (GYNDC)" event.

Furthermore, to identify how the company engaged its audience, we used site intelligence tools like AdBeat and SimilarWeb to research how/where the company attracted website traffic from. Unfortunately, this investigation showed that Grober Nutrition is yet to launch any online advertising campaign, according to insights by AdBeat, while SimilarWeb's analysis revealed that the company does not even get enough website traffic to show any data. These findings also indicated that Grober Nutrition reaches and engages customers through its dealers, as our examination of the company's social media accounts did not also reveal engagements with customers despite the company posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram.

Next, to investigate the company's market position, we researched industry studies pertinent to the milk replacer sector, as well as the revenue estimate of Grober Nutrition. We took this step to understand how the company compared with other players in its industry. This investigation yielded the milk replacer market report by Market Watch, which showed that the sector had a global value of US$188 million, as of 2018. Also, we found a report by Glassdoor, which revealed that Grober Nutrition's estimated annual revenue was between US$50-US$100 million. However, the market report by Market Watch did not recognize Grober Nutrition among its key players of the milk replacer products' industry, which included Calva Products LLC (US); Liprovit, BV (Netherlands); PETAG Inc. (US); Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM); Cargill (US); CHS Inc. (US); Land O'Lakes Inc. (US), and others. This finding showed that despite the high annual revenue estimate of Grober Nutrition provided by Glassdoor, the company was not among the top players in the milk replacer products' industry in 2018, as per the report by Market Watch.


Part
04
of four
Part
04

Company Analysis - Esmilco

Esmilco's target audience is exclusively businesses as the company operates as a B2B company that specializes in providing solutions for the nutritional needs of a variety of species. Due to the company being regarded as a niche operator in the calf milk market primarily, and its sales estimated to be only around $15 to $20 million annually, investments in marketing and advertising seem to be very low.

ESMILCO TARGET AUDIENCE

  • Esmilco claims they are the nutrition specialists for baby animals and that they offer performance-proven products for baby animals.
  • Esmilco's target audience is exclusively businesses as the company operates as a B2B company that specializes in "meeting the nutritional needs of a variety of species."
  • The brand is positioned in the market to offer milk replacers and specialty products including electrolytes, probiotics, scour treatments and bypass fat products for dairy cows, goats and show animals.
  • The brand's positioning is built on the premise of providing "excellent products and services to help customers improve animal welfare, health and nutrition by supplying safe, high-quality milk replacers and specialty products for calves, piglets, lambs, kids, pets and exotic animals."

HOW IS ESMILCO TARGETING AND ENGAGING WITH THEIR AUDIENCE

  • Due to the company being regarded as a niche operator in the calf milk market primarily, and its sales estimated to be only around $15 to $20 million annually, investments in marketing and advertising seem to be very low. This can be seen in only 1,760 search results coming up when looking up the company.
  • Online, Esmilco is using SEO to target their core audience by advertising regarding specific words such as probiotics, milk replacers, scour treatments, etc.
  • Esmilco is registered in the B2B registries for the pet nutrition category and is often mentioned in market reports.
  • Esmilco communicates with farmers with the help of the government, having been included in the National Council of Farmer Initiatives annual meetings.
  • The company is actively involved in different committees, societies, and organizations run on the national scale in the US which host congresses and trade shows.
  • On social media, Esmilco has a very small presence. The company runs a Facebook profile (93 followers) and an Instagram profile (103 followers).
  • On Instagram, the company communicates around their values ("Raising healthy, strong calves has been our lifelong passion. When choosing a milk replacer, protein level and fat level are both important to consider. Fats in our milk replacer lines are incorporated by both cold processing and spray drying to provide a more even absorption of energy by the calf. So whichever protein and fat levels work best for your herd, you can rest assured your calves are getting the best nutrition possible."), passions and goals ("Healthy cows (of all breeds) begin with healthy calves. Our passion for healthy calves and cows extends far beyond the pasture. Our goal for creating the finest milk replacers starts from the very beginning, with our ingredients. We recommend our customers use all milk proteins, especially for very young calves, as protein source plays a big role in the growth and healthy development of a calf. Our milk replacer blends are formulated and carefully balanced to supply the essential energy, protein, vitamin and minerals your calves need for a healthy start to life, which leads to productive cows later in life!"), and standards ("Our high quality milk replacers and specialty products are made and manufactured right here in the USA. 🇺🇸 At our California production plant, we have been working hard to implement certifications and safe food protocols, because after all, what our animals eat is just as important to farmers, as it is to every 🥛 & 🧀 lover out there! We recently had some inspectors visit and they loved our color coordinated system for keeping the floor clean and organized. Our guys might not appreciate the color choice as much as we thought they would, but at least Jessica (and the inspectors) are thrilled about the mint green color station.").
  • Some posts from Instagram are duplicated on Facebook but the Facebook profile is mainly used by the company to share useful practices ("Observing dairy calf behavior is a critical skill in the early detection of disease. See how else it can aid your calves here!"), and conferences the company is attending ("Our new booth brought in costumers both tall and small. If you couldn’t tell from the laughs, we had a great time hanging out with everyone at World Dairy Expo this week. Thanks for stopping by and asking all the nutrition questions you had, we’re already jazzed for next year. #babyanimalsbringinthebabies #wde2017").
Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "Our extensive dealer network reaches coast-to-coast. Working to give you access to our products at all times in all corners of Canada and the USA. Talk to one of our dealers or contact us directly about feeding Grober on your farm."
Quotes
  • "Grober Nutrition, Inc. provides nutrition and management insights for raising young livestock. The Company wholesale distribution of animal feeds, fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, and other farm supplies. Grober Nutrition serves customers throughout Canada."
Quotes
  • "Jeanne Wormuth, manager of Hourigan’s Dairy Farm near Elbridge, New York speaks positively of the Grober products. “I have used Grober milk replacer with my calves for close to 15 years. I love the consistency and quality of the powder and how our calves look and grow on it."
  • "K. A. Sunset Farm near Schaghticoke, New York has been an avid user of Grober Nutrition milk replacer for several years and continues to be an advocate. Sandy, the owner of K.A. Sunset, notes that a friend had recommended the product based on the increased performance of their calves."
  • ""
Quotes
  • "For the ninth year at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, the Grober Young Animal Development Centre (GYADC) continues to be a favourite stop for guests looking for the latest in young animal raising technology and research. This year, the GYADC will feature kid-goats, calves, the ECO Lamb/Kid Automatic Feeder, plus the Vario and Calf Rail by Förster Technik."
Quotes
  • "The plan was to open a research facility, but not just any research facility. They wanted a location accessible to everyone to showcase feeding programs and housing systems, highlight the health and growth of young animals, allow for partnered research with universities, have a place to test world-leading innovations, to work closely with nutrition partners, and to provide livestock producers the chance to see the practical applications right before their very eyes."
Quotes
  • "Major vendors in the liquid milk replacers market include Liprovit, BV (Netherlands), Calva products LLC (US), PETAG Inc. (US), Cargill (US), Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) ()), CHS Inc. (US), Land O'Lakes Inc. (US), Glanbia Plc (Ireland), Nutreco N.V. (Netherlands), and Lactalis Group (France)."
  • "The Liquid Milk Replacers Market is expected to grow from USD 188 million in 2018 to USD 243 million by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.3% during the forecast period."