By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
DVM Chadon Suwanarit, managing director of Royal Canin (Thailand) Co Ltd, said the Thai people are have shifted their pet-related behaviour. In the past, animals were kept to help watch over the house or catch the rats, but pets are today viewed as companions and cared for like a family member.
In order to respond to this trend in which dogs and cats are properly cared for to ensure their health, the company has focused on educating pet lovers about good nutrition via many channels, including through veterinary clinics, breeders, pet shops and online platforms.
The company has recently developed an application, “Royal Canin Club”, to help dog and cat owners understand how to take better care of their pets. The app hosts much useful knowledge related to cat and dog age and breeds and is sourced from nutritionists and veterinarians.
“Due to the 8 million dogs and 4 million cats in Thailand’s urban areas and cities, the Thai pet-food market has seen an increasing trend every year, with demand from pet owners rising an estimated 4-5 per cent per year,” said Chadon.
“Driving factors include the changing lifestyles of Thai consumers. Thai people tend to be in more and more of micro family. They are also health conscious, remain single or have fewer children. Therefore, pets become their life companions. Pets become family members. The pet owners are concerned more about pets’ health, and are willing to spend more on valuable products for them to make their pets healthier and live longer.”
The overall market value of dog and cat food was estimated to be over Bt15 billion, with local manufacturers and importers providing more than 30 brands, said Chadon.
The market could be categorised into two groups based on marketing and distribution channels. First, the grocery and modern trade channel (convenience stores and supermarkets) commanded 40 per cent of the market share with a growth rate of 1.2 per cent last year. Second, the speciality trade channel (pet food shops, veterinary clinics and breeders) controlled the remaining 60 per cent with a 7.3 per cent growth rate last year.
Royal Canin had ranked the third in overall market but has remained in second place within the speciality trade channel. The company expected to reach the top of the channel next year, as supported by the organic growth of dog and cat food markets, as ever-more people take dogs and cats as family companions.
It is expected that the market for dog and cat diets will grow by 5 per cent next year, with the higher growth projected in cat food.
Regarding the company’s sales, Royal Canin (Thailand) is confident of achieving its sales target of Bt2 billion this year, 12 per cent above last year’s Bt1.8 billion.
The company plans to expand the nutrition-focused diets for dogs and cats by educating pet owners and through adding additional marketing and distributing channels. It has marketed its products via pet shops (70 per cent), veterinary clinics (25 per cent), breeders (3 per cent) as well as another 2 per cent via e-commerce, a new marketing channel added since late last year in order to expand the customer base.
Meanwhile, “Royal Canin” has emphasised the importance of establishing good relationships with pet owners through marketing activities and sale channels that suit their behaviour. The company will participate in the Pet Expo 2019, which is on May 30 to 2nd June 2, 2019 at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Bitec).
“Royal Canin has spent over 50 years collaborating closely with animal experts, scientists, breeders and veterinarians to understand their unique dietary requirements. We have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about cats and dogs’ needs based on their size, age, lifestyle, life stage, breed and specific health needs,” said Chadon.
“Notwithstanding that we’ve dedicated our lives to creating the most precise formulations of nutrients through long-term scientific observation, we have also moved forward to educate our partners, customers and consumers about the nutritional diets for pets,” he said.
“Our ambition is to be the health reference through nutrition for cats and dogs."