Issue Iss2 2010
Having recently launched its pioneering Tetra Recart packaging solution, Lantmännen Doggy is placing itself at the forefront of the pet food industry
As an active part of the international Lantmännen Group’s food division, Lantmännen Doggy specialises in dry and canned cat and dog food for consumers throughout Europe. The Group entity has roots dating back to 1880 when the first farmers union was established in Skaraborg County, Sweden, and today it is owned by over 42,000 Swedish farmers and is one of the Nordic area’s largest groups within food, energy, machinery and agriculture. Founded on democratic control, fair distribution of profit and equal financial investment for members, Lantmännen is a producers’ co-operative referring to the producers of goods or services and collaborating in marketing, distribution, sales, processing and purchase of materials & equipment. Today the Group operates in 19 countries, has 10,000 employees and experiences an annual turnover of 4.3 billion euros. The Lantmännen Doggy sector has origins dating back to 1903 when its first pet food product entered the market before it became a recognised, registered company in 1950. Located 65 kilometres from the business hub of Gothenburg, the company has one ultra modern and state-of-the-art production site in Vårgårda with 165 employees in situ and it has been operating as part of the Group since 2001 when it was taken over.
The Group’s food division focuses on flour, breakfast foods, mixes, pasta, frozen bread products, chicken and ready-to-eat meal concepts, as well as dog and cat food delivered by its four key businesses. Lantmännen Unibake is the largest manufacturer of frozen bread products for both the food service and grocery sectors in northern Europe, while Lantmännen Cerealia encompasses the marjority of the Group’s brands in the areas of flour, breakfast foods, mixes and pasta. Lantmännen Kronfågel on the other hand specialises in the production of chicken products and has market leading positions in both Sweden and Denmark, and Lantmännen Doggy is the only facility in the organisation to offer premier products to the domestic and retail pet industry.
Hans Nilsson, chief executive officer of Lantmännen Doggy outlines its specialised product range: “We produce dry and canned dog and cat food for all kinds and sizes of animal. We cater for all classes of pet owners and even offer a Bozita and Bozita Robur range for dog breeders, working dogs and show dogs. Our greatest and most significant development is the launch of our Tetra Recart packaging developed by Tetra Pak for a fresher, more convenient solution that has less impact on the environment. Having started in 2005, we are the first company in the world to produce pet food in this type of packaging.”
Tetra Recart is the first retortable carton that enables the filled product to be sterilised within the package and is ideal for shelf-stable food products traditionally filled in cans, glass jars and pouches such as vegetables, tomatoes, ready meals and soups, as well as pet food. Unlike a can solution, which tends to be bulky, heavy and a poor storage medium, Tetra Recart fulfils various convenience criteria by being lightweight, compact to store, safe and easy to open without tools, as well as being easy to flatten and dispose of when empty. Most importantly, it ensures that the contents remains fresh and undamaged, yet when it is used it fits into existing carton waste streams easily and takes up little space on the way to the recycling centre.
“We have invested over 6.5 million euros into the expansion of Tetra Recart production and are increasing our influence in countries such as Germany and Russia for this product, while the home market of Sweden is flourishing. Its growth will rely on retailer and customer demand, though we anticipate that its popularity will continue to expand especially as it offers stores a space saving of 40 per cent compared to its circular can counterparts. We are not looking to replace the can completely as its progress completely relies on the consumer, but the sales figures are highly positive,” Hans notes.
This development is also a vital aspect of Lantmännen Doggy’s eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable strategy for the future. As from the 1st January 2010, the whole factory is powered by renewable energy following the instalment of a new renewable power company nearby. This move was made in order to not only meet consumer demand for environmental responsibility, but to increase Lantmännen’s reputation for investing in a sustainable future as well. Such market-leading characteristics are backed up by stringent quality and environmental standards and the organisation is ISO 22000:2005, ISO 959001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 accredited. This is also relevant to the sourcing of ingredients and Lantmännen Doggy always looks to use local Swedish ingredients in its products where possible, making it unique compared to major competitors such as Nestle, Mars and Proctor&Gamble.
“For the future we are highly interested in expanding wherever we can. The biggest market for us at the moment is Germany followed by Russia, Poland, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands – there is a great deal of potential in Europe. Our Tetra Recart innovation has really put us on the map for modern pet food solutions,” Hans concludes.