How did the idea of starting Drools come to you?
Drools Pet Food Private Limited, the brainchild of founder Fahim Sultan, was set up in 2009 to focus on pets’ nutrition, health, and welfare. When Fahim moved back to his Hometown (the head office of the IB Group) after completing university to learn the ropes of business, they spent a lot of time with his pets. Being an ardent pet lover, he realized that all the pet food available in the market at the time consisted of by-products and fillers. By-products, the leftovers or unused parts of animals, were ground into the pet food, and there was a lack of availability of pet-food brands that consisted of clean, high-quality ingredients. Having the experience of working with the IB Group made Fahim realize how unhealthy and undernourishment that kind of food was for his pets.
Backed by the best veterinarians, they were able to Garner in-depth knowledge on animal Nutrition and after Intensive research, Drools was born to bridge the gap and ensure that all pets received the right kind of ingredients with wholesome balanced Nutrition. Food being the foundation of health, pets needed to have food that was free of additives, hormones, antibiotics, fillers or by-products. Healthy food is directly proportional to healthy pets and the longevity of life.
And pet parents would like to provide products of wholesome quality for their pets, with real and clean ingredients and strictly selected raw materials.
How has the Indian market received Drools since Inception and how do you see this business growth in the next two years?
The last couple of years have been great for us business-wise and the entire category is growing at a fast pace. Today, we are producing more than 3600 tonnes per month in dog food and in cat food we are touching 1,000 tonnes per month. Numbers look strong this year and we are looking for an approximate 50% to 60% growth in the category.
Share details about your plans for geographical expansion, and future Collaborations across Australia
We have recently launched our products in Israel and Palestine, which is a new market for us. We will be starting operations in New Zealand and parts of Europe in the latter part of 2022.
The rising focus on exports is part of the expansion strategy and Drools’ target is to be available in 25-30 countries in the next 2-3 years, doubling revenue numbers. Drools have successfully managed to export to Emerging and developing economies and in the coming year aims to further expand its global footprint to the United States, regions of the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. We have a strong exports team that is working round-the-clock to ensure steady global expansion.
Australia has pet clinics, supermarket chains, pet industry influencers, pet trainers and breeders, so there are high expectations from the target audience there. But the steady rise in Drools’ exports affirms the credibility of its products as it Clears multiple layers of efficacy, Nutrition and palatability checks at the various audit points of the above-mentioned countries.
How do you see the growth in the Indian pet-food market in 2022, and what upcoming trends will transform the industry?
The Indian pet food industry is estimated to be worth around Rs. 2,500 crores. The current supply is not sufficient to meet the quality and demand — there is a huge gap and shortage of quality animal food in the country. Besides, imported pet foods are costly, and many pet owners can’t afford them.
Pets today are family and not just a hobby. They are a companion and you take care of their happiness, and even celebrate occasions with them. The journey of a canine from being a watchdog to a spoiled kid at home and a forever companion is not just endearing but also speaks volumes of the possibilities of growth in the category. And as an Agile brand, we have understood the need for innovative quality products at affordable pricing to keep our consumer base growing.
Plans for the Indian market?
Growth expansion will be the continued course of action in the next few years — capturing newer markets, building a larger market share, and scaling profits. Focusing on the main channels of pet Specialty stores, Breeders and veterinarians will be the way forward for the brand. Our R&D team is constantly working on newer recipes, dietary packs and more nutritious ingredients.
Cat Biscuits, Cat Sausages and Cat Creamy are the new products we’re planning to launch in the Indian market. Drools are also looking into the premium segment to increase our Foothold.
How has COVID impacted your business?
With the humanization of pets, the Constitution of an Indian family has changed in a big way and COVID was a huge blessing in disguise for the category too. The last two years have seen tremendous growth — adoptions have gone up, consumption has increased, and spending year-on-year has grown 70%.