Del Monte's Pet Push


Get ready for Del Monte to make an even bigger push into the pet care business.

The company announced Thursday that it was selling its consumer products division (mostly canned goods) to Del Monte Pacific, the Asian company that has the license to sell food under the Del Monte brand in parts of Asia, for $1.68 billion.

The bet here is that San Francisco-based Del Monte will take a good portion of that money and put it into its growing pet division. Just several months ago, Del Monte closed its purchase of Natural Balance. It already sells such well-known brands as Meow Mix and Kibbles.

What does that mean for the retail industry? First and foremost, Del Monte will probably look to purchase other pet food companies, perhaps looking for specialty items that will help separate it from other major pet food companies, including Iams and Purina. Second, expect an uptick in research and development from the company. Nothing gets a company moving in the right direction like more money in its coffers.

Most importantly, this may force other pet food companies to look for their own ventures to increase or protect market share. Stay tuned.

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