In a move that many pet food safety advocates and informed pet parents are not too happy about, Merrick pet food has just announced that the company is in the process of being acquired by Nestlé Purina PetCare.
Merrick’s parent company Swander Pace Capital, a private equity firm which acquired the pet food maker in 2010, did not reveal the terms of the deal.
The company is a leader in the natural pet food market with its various brands including Merrick, Castor & Pollux and Whole Earth Farms.
This is just one of the many natural independent brands to be purchased by huge corporations in recent years.
In 2010, Proctor & Gamble acquired Natura Pet Products – maker of such respected organic pet foods as Evo, Innovo, California Natural, Karma and Mother Nature. Last year, P&G sold the bulk of its pet care business to corporate behemoth Mars.
In 2013, Del Monte Foods acquired leading natural pet food maker Natural Balance, which was launched by late actor Dick Van Patten in 1989.
As such, the acquisition of independent pet food makers by large conglomerates appears to be a continuing trend, which doesn’t make pet food purists happy.
While all of the large companies that acquired the independent pet food makers promised to continue to uphold the brands’ high standards for purity and quality ingredients, many industry observers are highly skeptical of these claims.
This was underscored in 2013, when several lots of Natura’s dry pet foods were recalled due to Salmonella contamination.
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