Pet Business: Tell us about the merger between Natural Balance and Del Monte.
Heather Govea: With this merger, Natural Balance has found the perfect partner to help the brand grow for the next 25 years. Not only does Del Monte care about pets as much as we do, they also have a complementary mindset and set of values, as well as a respected legacy of offering consumers healthy, quality brands for more than 100 years. Natural Balance looks forward to working hand-in-hand with Del Monte to leverage its strong distribution, supply chain and innovation resources that will help the brand continue growing.
PB: How will the merger impact Natural Balance’s relationships with pet specialty retailers? Will your products still be exclusive to pet stores?
Govea: Natural Balance has strong relationships with pet specialty retailers, and we are committed to nurturing those relationships throughout the merger and into the future. Together, both Del Monte and Natural Balance are committed to upholding our long-standing commitment to pet specialty and our focus remains on strengthening our existing channels.
PB: Assuming it remains exclusive, why is this merger a positive development for pet retailers?
Govea: This merger is positive for retailers in a few different ways. Natural Balance will be working hand-in-hand with Del Monte to leverage their strong distribution, supply chain and innovation resources that will empower our brand to continue along a strong growth pattern. Retailers can still expect the same face of our brand that they have come to know and trust, with a stronger operational expertise that comes from this partnership. Retailers can also expect Natural Balance to continue to bring new product innovation and unique ingredients, while growing the strong retail partnerships and support in our existing channels.
PB: How will the merger with Del Monte impact Natural Balance as an organization? Will it continue to operate as a separate entity, or will it be rolled into Del Monte’s brand portfolio?
Govea: Del Monte stands behind Natural Balance’s commitment to provide optimal nutrition for pets everywhere. We will continue to drive the premium pet foods category forward by constantly developing new formulas with unique ingredient combinations, and cater to the dietary needs and selective taste buds of dogs and cats. Natural Balance will continue as a separate entity under Del Monte’s portfolio.
PB: Will the merger with Del Monte impact the formulation of Natural Balance foods, including ingredients sourcing?
Govea: A big part of Natural Balance’s success is due to its formulas. Natural Balance remains committed to the promise of using only the highest-quality ingredients in our products, and Del Monte stands behind this commitment. Consumers can feel confident Natural Balance will continue to provide pet parents and pets alike with the super-premium, high-quality formula that they have come to expect from our brand.
PB: What are your expectations for the Natural Balance brand now that it has the resources of a large player like Del Monte behind it?
Govea: Natural Balance will continue to offer pet parents super-premium, high-quality formulas that they have come to know and expect. We look forward to continuing to nurture our valued relationships with our distributors, retailers and customers. I see an incredibly bright future ahead with Del Monte’s expertise in operational excellence coupled with the leading marketing and sales innovation Natural Balance has built its reputation on.