Shopper Marketing - December 2016 - 92


INSTITUTE STRATEGIST

Meijer Adopts Big
Pet Food Brands
Mars Petcare and Nestle Purina get busy
as they try to fend off smaller brands
By Samantha Nelson

Leading pet food manufacturers Mars Petcare and Nestle Purina Petcare are facing
challenges from smaller premium brands
that appeal to shoppers who see feeding
quality food to their pets as a logical extension of the changes to organic and natural
foods they've made in their own diets. The
pet food category is becoming increasingly
competitive even as overall spending is expected to increase 4.2% year over year to
reach $24 billion in 2016, according to a study
by the American Pet Products Association.
While the category leaders remain important promotional partners for specialty
pet stores such as Petco and PetSmart,
both retailers are devoting more shelf space
and marketing activity to new private labels
and exclusive brands. Meanwhile, regional
supermarket operators such as H-E-B and
Southeastern Grocers this year dove deeper into the category by launching pet food
private labels targeting value shoppers.
Mars and Nestle Purina have been fighting
the competition with new product launches
92

y SHOPPER MARKETING DECEMBER 2016

of their own and have found a promotional
ally in Meijer. Known as one of the most
collaborative retailers in the industry, the
Midwestern mass merchant ran three significant programs this year to promote the
latest offerings from the top dogs.
Responding to consumers' concern over
what's in their pets' food, Nestle Purina's
Beneful this summer introduced a new formula of its dry dog food boasting beef or
chicken as the primary ingredient. At Meijer,
dump bins and floor clings promoted the
new recipe while dangling an mPerks coupon for $1 off the purchase of three SKUs of
the brand's wet dog food from Aug. 14 to
Sept. 10. Wet and dry food were merchandised together on endcap displays outfitted
with headers promoting the new items' "no
sugar added" claim. A supporting half-page
feature in the retailer's Aug. 14/18 circular
offered "buy one, get one 50% off" on the
brand's products.
Mars' Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks cat
treats enjoyed similar treatment when the



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