Cats and dogs around the world will soon be able to get their own New Zealand-made food supplements thanks to Christchurch raw dog-food manufacturer K9 Natural.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is helping the company develop food supplements for pets in a bid to double the value of New Zealand's primary industry exports by 2025.
The ministry will fund three days of training for K9 representatives with award-winning global design firm IDEO in San Francisco.
IDEO's input will help K9 Natural design easy-to-use health supplements for pet owners. The ministry started to look for firms with a strong potential for growing their primary sector exports earlier this year and selected K9 Natural among 10 candidates. The company will be the first to benefit from the ministry's Ideas Development Initiative.
The ministry's acting director-general, Scott Gallacher, said K9 Natural's food supplements had a lot of potential. "Their idea has real possibilities for export growth and could be an excellent example of innovation to others in the primary sector."
K9 Natural chief executive Calvin Smith said he was excited to work with IDEO. He wanted his company to become a leader in natural pet nutrition worldwide using natural resources from New Zealand.
K9 Natural already sells dog food in 19 countries and plans to use its strong distribution network for new products, including the food supplements. He said the pet industry in the United States alone represented $70 billion.
K9 Natural was formed in 2006 by police dog handler Geoff Bowers and Bruce Mayhew. Bowers spent three months in Alaska monitoring the raw diet of grey wolves.
K9 Natural has grown from a business with $650,000 of sales to $5m turnover and 25 staff in 2011.
Since then, it had been growing 50 per cent a year and was targeting 100 per cent growth over the next three years.
- © Fairfax NZ News