AUSTRALIA- Mars Petcare Australia recently announced a US$77 million (112.6 million AUD) investment to expand its pet food manufacturing capabilities in Wodonga, Australia, allowing for the construction of a new cat food facility.
According to Mars Petcare Australia, this latest investment builds upon its over US$55.8 million investment at the facility during the past five years. The project is bound to help Mars Petcare meet its current and future consumer demand for more pet food products, allowing it to “future-proof” its local operations.
“As a market leader, we are committed to bolstering our local operations by sourcing and making most of our portfolio right here in Australia,” said Craig Sargeant, general manager of Mars Petcare Australia.
According to Mars Petcare Australia, the company will construct a 7,800-square-meter (nearly 84,000-square-foot) production facility solely dedicated to wet cat food, specifically single-serve pouches.
Moreover, the manufacturing plant will include two production lines with a combined capacity of 25,000 tons annually, equivalent to about 290 million pouches of cat food.
The facility will primarily serve the Australian and New Zealand markets while enabling Mars Petcare to expand its existing product lines and establish new ones, under its WHISKAS, ADVANCE, OPTIMUM, and DINE brands.
Through the investment, Mars Petcare Australia hopes to meet new trends in cat ownership and demand for more cat food.
“This significant investment will allow us to respond to pet trends including the continued rise in cat ownership — growing at nearly 4% per year — more than twice as fast as our dog population,” Sargeant said.
“We’re also seeing increased demand for convenience, with pouch products representing half of the Australian wet cat food market and growing at nearly 10% per year,” Sargeant added.
The project will be supported by grant funding from the Victorian government’s Regional Development Victoria division.
“As pet ownership continues to increase there are enormous opportunities for businesses like Mars to expand,” said Harriet Shing, the Minister for Regional Development Victoria.
“We’re continuing to work with rural and regional producers to support investment in growth industries, to cement Mars Petcare’s long-term operations and workforce in Wodonga and its place in a strong market,” Shing added.