Q: According to statistics, consumers have more disposable income (following a cut in taxation). How does your sector see the 2016 inflow of disposable income in Romania?
Diana Bejan: At Nestle Purina, pets and people who love them are our number one priority. Pet owners want the best for their pets and we bring our knowledge and expertise to meet their needs.
In Romania, the pet food category is still in an emerging phase and there are many opportunities for development. Even so, we can already find all the specific segments, from Economy to Super Premium products and from multi-serving to single serving formats, the signs of a mature market.
Romanian pet owners love their pets very much and they search for high quality products. They are looking for products of latest innovation in pet nutrition, endorsed by sound research.
Last year, Romania had a favorable economic environment, therefore fiscal policies and good economic results increased the consumption in many categories. We registered the same trend in pet food. In this context, the pet owners have started to offer more and better to their pets.
Nestle Purina is always here for them, with innovative solutions. In the past two years, we have launched 18 new products and relaunched four, from our total portfolio of seven brands.
Q: How does the new economic environment, of low taxation and negative inflation, impact your business sector?
Diana Bejan: The fiscal policy implemented by the Romanian authorities helped the market to have more affordable prices in pet food.
Consumers are now more informed and there is a raising trend on knowing more about pet nutrition. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs than humans and pet food is the right choice for a complete and balanced meal. There is also the aspect of convenience: pet food is ready to be served in any moment of the day.
Therefore, pet owners can offer more qualitative food to their pets or more often, having the peace of mind they can give the best nutritional food, tailored for the pet’s needs.
Q: In the new economic environment, how are the sales at national level?
Diana Bejan: Purina has a rich history of more than 120 years. At global level, we have the opportunity to serve more than 300 million pet owners and about 1 billion cats and dogs.
In Romania, the business is still young and is growing fast, in a healthy way. For Nestle Purina, 2015 was an exceptional year: we have closed the year with +13% growth in sales compared to 2014. 2016 seems to be also a strong one, following the accelerated growth trend of 2015. The drivers of the growth are the cat brands Gourmet, Felix, One but also the dog brands Pro Plan and Friskies.