From time to time on the HouseSitMatch.com blog we love to bring you the histories of relevant partners that help to support and drive the pet industry. The story of Royal Canin Dog Food is one such story that has help to nurture and keep pet food manufacture and safe and healthy way to feed our pet dogs.
As a pet owner you may find some of the twists and turns of this history fascinating and rather surprising. Enjoy the blog!
The History of Royal Canin Dog Food
In the pet food industry, competition runs high among a wide range of canine food manufacturers whose products are currently available on the international market. Royal Canin differentiates its brand from its competitors with science-based recipes and nutritious ingredients. The extraordinary company history spans decades of targeted research and development to yield a high calibre and reputable product line. Its registered trademark mentions veterinary products and supplements, with the implication that it is a professionally and clinically recommended brand.
Competitive Edge and Differentiation
The company utilizes a tailored nutrition approach, which entails targeting individual breeds and basing the food ingredients on unique canine physiology, including known gastrointestinal health sensitivities. The recipe for each Royal Canin dog food product is said to be crafted with specific formulas to supplement dietary needs and support optimal canine health. Veterinary diet and retail are the two main product lines. However, subdivisions based on breed, age, size, and dietary needs or restrictions enable greater focus on the specific products.
Origin of Establishment
Royal Canin is a French company, established in 1968 by Jean Cathary. He was a veterinary surgeon who ran his practice in Aimargues, a village in the Gard region of France. Cathary had been treating dogs with skin and fur issues. He believed the root cause was dietary deficiencies in the animals. As a result he formulated his first cereal-based recipe to address these problems related to nutrition. Having achieved positive results from his food experiment and seeing improvement in his patients, he officially named his product Royal Canin and launched his business.
Expansion and Early Distribution
Cathary began distributing his food to breeders and other veterinary clinics in France. His former clients helped to spread word of mouth and increase distribution. He incorporated his company in the 1970s as Royal Canin S.A. Consequently, they established manufacturing facilities set up in Aimargues and a subsidiary in Spain. European distribution of the Royal Canin product and brand awareness continued to spread from there. Distribution channels have since spread throughout and beyond European countries.
Dog Food Market Segmentation and Penetration
Over the years, the company has asserted its position in the market as a leading brand among professional trainers, breeders and veterinarians. Decades of marketing campaigns that target brand-loyal customer bases have driven growth. Royal Canin first penetrated the North American market in the 1980s, which continues to rank as the largest domestic pet food market in the world. The company established a strong foothold and began ramping up manufacturing capacity overseas with its acquisition of Pet Foods Plus in Missouri. After that penetration of the South American market facilitated research facilities and factories built in Argentina. Two new products launched are marketed directly to the general consumer market, namely Royal Canin Cynotechnique International and Felinotechnique International.
Research and Development Strategies
Scientific research efforts behind the Royal Canin products are a priority. While originating in France the research facilities have consequently been set up internationally fuelled by an investment strategy. The research centres are staffed with scientists who study niche areas of animal health. For example, the correlation between bone diseases and disorders and dietary causes is one area of research. Product development has evolved based on the dietary needs of dogs who have sensitive stomachs and gastrointestinal issues.
The brand has enjoyed popularity and upward trajectories in market growth rates, however, it hasn’t been without drawbacks. While rare in the history of the company, there have been three documented incidents of product recalls. For instance, the latest recall was announced in 2007.
The company announced their first recall in February 2006. This was due to excessive levels of vitamin D3 found in the product. The affected and recalled products comprised the following:
- Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO Dog Food
- Veterinary Diet Canine Low Fat LF Dog Food
- Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control CC in Gel Dog Food
- Veterinary Diet Feline Sensitivity VR Cat Food
- Veterinary Diet Feline Calorie Control CC Cat Food
- Veterinary Diet Feline Renal LP Cat Food
In April and May of 2007, the company announced two further recalls. The company explained that these were due to melamine contamination in certain products for dogs and cats, determined after a detailed investigation:
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice
- Sensible Choice Lamb and Rice
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend
- KASKO Chunks
- KASKO Hi Energy
- KASKO Maintenance
- KASKO Mealettes
The contamination was attributed to trace amounts of melamine from Chinese rice protein concentrate. According to a Royal Canin press release, all use of Chinese vegetable protein products was discontinued as a result.
Current Company Status
Today Royal Canin manufactures and distributes its products from at least 12 production facilities worldwide. Wholly owned by Mars, Inc., the company distrubtes the production facilities across the world in France, the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, and China. It is still a leading brand known for its premium canine and feline pet food products favoured by many pet owners the world over. In conclusion, this dog food has a reputation for being a safe product for animal consumption. Despite the negative impact of the 2006 and 2007 recalls, which resulted in numerous reports of pet deaths, today’s stringent controls help to mitigate such a reoccurrence. Its primary competitors include internationally recognized brands, such as Proctor & Gamble, Purina and Colgate-Palmolive to name a few.