Cargill Expands Further Into Pet Food Category

The agribusiness giant says its acquisition of Pro-Pet will make it the only national supplier of both animal feed and pet food.
Matthew HellerJanuary 3, 2018

Agribusiness giant Cargill is beefing up its pet food portfolio by acquiring Ohio-based Pro-Pet, which owns such brands as premium dog food label Black Gold.

Pro-Pet specializes in producing premium and super-premium branded and private label pet food products with facilities in St. Marys, Ohio, Kansas City, Kan., and Owatonna, Minn.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed but Cargill said the deal would create the only national supplier of both animal feed and pet food and increase its production capacity and proximity to agricultural retail customers.

“Pro-Pet’s commitment to high-quality, safe pet food and passion for the pet food business is the perfect fit for our Cargill Animal Nutrition business, and allows us to better serve our customers seeking a focused supplier for both animal feed and pet food options,” Pilar Cruz, president of Cargill Feed and Nutrition, said in a news release.

Cargill currently operates 50 animal feed production and distribution facilities across the U.S. Pet food is a top-growing category among agriculture retailers with an estimated 8% distribution share and Cargill believes the acquisition of Pro-Pet’s brands will enable it to further capitalize on pet food market trends.

“The pet food category continues to change, as indicated by the increased focus on premium offerings,” said Mark Lueking, U.S. managing director for Cargill Feed and Nutrition. “Pro-Pet has the capability to satisfy this market need.”

Pro-Pet has manufactured private label dry dog and cat food since 1996. Private-equity firm H.I.G. Capital acquired a majority stake in the company in 2011, with Land O’Lakes retaining an equity position.

“There is no organization that can leverage the strengths and capabilities of Pro-Pet better than Cargill, which will enhance our ability to serve retail partners and pet food brand owners,” Pro-Pet CEO Jim Wiegmann said.

Cargill’s existing pet food brands include River Run, Nutrena, and the premium Loyall line.