For over 120 years, PURINA PETCARE has been providing high quality, accessible and complete nutrition to meet the needs of pets over the world. PURINA arrived in India with the aim of raising awareness about various dietary standards of pet nutrition. Varindra Sewak, Managing Director, PURINA PETCARE, tells DOGS & PUPS about the company’s flagship products and swiftly growing Indian pet industry.

Varindra Sewak

Dogs & Pups: Tell us about the focus and objectives of PURINA

Varindra Sewak,

Varindra Sewak,

Varindra Sewak: In India, pet parents have relatively become aware of the benefits that entail a wholesome diet for their pets, this in turn has resulted in higher demand for products which offer nutrition. There is an upward shift in the demand for premium pet food. To further add value, PURINA is also segmenting pet food formula for various age, breed and lifestyle.

PURINA PETCARE is investing for the long term and aims to have a robust portfolio of its global brands to meet the needs of pets. So far, we have introduced SUPERCOAT and PRO PLAN brands in India and will be bringing our global portfolio and become a significant player in the swiftly growing Indian pet food industry.

D&P: Could you comment how the pet industry is in India? What are the major heads?

VS: The Indian pet industry is segmented under categories such as premium pet food, super premium pet food, pet pharma and pet grooming. The industry is undergoing a positive transformation owing to factors such as rising disposable incomes, increased awareness about pet care practices like proper nutrition, grooming, accessorizing, etc. All this is fueling the demand for having pets at home. The standards in pet care have risen sharply and it’s now noticeable that how medical facilities for pets have leapfrogged in India.

D&P: There are so many brands available – how will PURINA manage to make a difference and lure pet parents towards themselves?

VS: At PURINA, we see industry standards as just a preparatory place. Our products, not only meet these standards, but go beyond the requirements to provide optimal nourishment for pets. In our groundbreaking Life-Span Study, we discovered that a lifetime of proper feeding could extend a dog’s healthy years. That’s why we’re on a mission to raise the standards for pet nutrition. It’s what inspires our team of over 500 scientists, including nutritionists, to develop industry-leading pet foods, and to make those products accessible to pets everywhere.

As mentioned earlier, Indian pet parents are continuously evolving to become more conscious about their pet’s demands and this gives us an opportunity to not only market the product, but also raise awareness about the importance of pet nutrition.

D&P: Which all PURINA products are currently available in India?

VS: Currently, PURINA SUPERCOAT and PURINA PRO PLAN are available in India. Under the brand SUPERCOAT, we have four variants – Small Breed Adult, Adult, Healthy Weight and Puppy. As part of the PRO PLAN range, we offer two variants – Medium & Large Puppy with OPTISTART and Media & Large Adult with OPTIBALANCE. One of the highlights in the India portfolio is PRO PLAN PUPPY with colostrum (found in the first milk produced by mother immediately after giving birth) which is a groundbreaking innovation and has proven to enhance immune response and a stronger response to vaccine in puppies.

D&P: Tell us about PRO PLAN.

VS: PRO PLAN is PURINA’s flagship and billionaire brand in the super premium segment. It is a three- decade-old brand which has been developed by PURINA vets, food scientists and nutritionists offering highly nutritious products for different life stages and breed sizes of dogs. One of the key highlights under PRO PLAN is the PRO PLAN PUPPY with OPTISTART that has proven nutrient blend to protect, nurture and develop healthy puppies. In the initial months of a puppy’s life, the natural ability to combat diseases is not fully developed. This period is called the ‘Immunity Gap’ and during this time, the puppy is susceptible to infections and digestive upsets. The PRO PLAN PUPPY variant contains colostrums—a vital component for newborn pups. It is a groundbreaking innovation, proven to enhance the immune response in puppies thereby stimulating their response to vaccines.

D&P: Where are PURINA products available for sale?

VS: PURINA products are available across all leading vet clinics and pet shops. We want to expand the reach of our brands through structured distribution expansion besides stepping up on awareness programmes among pet parents. Our constant endeavor continues to provide high-quality pet food.

D&P: What do you think about the Indian pet parents? Any data you have of how many pet parents we have in India.

VS: It is estimated that there are more than 19 million pets in India and we expect this number to increase in the coming years. India is witnessing a boom in the pet care industry and pet parents are not shying from investing in products and services to create ‘meaningful’ experiences with their four- legged companions. Factors such as higher spending power, increasing awareness of pet nutrition combined with the information powered by digital media are fueling the current trend of growing pet parenting in India.

D&P: What are your views on veterinarian practice and its role in promoting RESPONSIBLE PET PARENTING?

VS: The veterinarian practice in India has grown tremendously owing to the overall growth and demand of pet care products. We believe that veterinarians play an important role in educating pet parents about various issues related to pets. There is an increasing awareness about pet nutrition largely driven by increasing digitisation making it easier to gain knowledge and owing to the great efforts by leading veterinarians across the country. PURINA always recommends consulting a veterinary expert if pet parents choose to introduce a new diet for their pet. Pet parents implement the advice shared by their pet’s veterinarian which helps them in raising their pets in a more responsible manner.

However, there still exists a gap among the Indian pet parents about the nutritional understanding. Many people believe that homemade food is better than packaged food, but they miss out the fact that homemade food does not constitute optimal nutrition for their dogs. Many times home cooked meals are deficient or unbalanced in nutrients required for a pet’s overall well-being and it is important to couple it with pet food to provide comprehensive nutrition, palatability and digestibility.

D&P: Your views on the Indian pet industry today and in the next 5 years.

VS: Over the years, we have seen how pets have become an intrinsic part of every pet parent’s life. The industry has particularly seen a surge in number of pet parents amongst millennials living and working away from home as they seek companionship in pets. Given this scenario, the industry is expected to witness an increase in the consumption of pet care products, making it a competitive environment for players.