Leading pet product manufacturer set for banner year

For most companies, it is enough to strive for a single innovation that revolutionizes the industry in which it operates. For Normerica, one was not enough.

Celebrating its 20th year, Normerica, North America’s premiere manufacturer of pet products was founded on innovation.  Founder and CEO John Kimmel saw an opportunity in the cat litter market, being the first to offer scoopable cat litter in premium, value-added packaging formats such as jugs, boxes and pails.

Today, Normerica is a leading pet product manufacturer, owning more than one-third of the marketshare in the North American cat litter industry.  From its beginnings in clumping cat litter, Normerica is now a multi-million dollar manufacturer of all natural dog treats, wheat free, holistic dog biscuits, and premium kettle cooked meals for dogs.  Normerica’s products, both branded and private label, are available at retailers across the globe.  Normerica is proud to offer the highest quality products at the most competitive prices.

CBJ spoke with Normerica President Colin Gleason about the company’s growth to over $1.5 billion in cumulative sales and strategy for future growth.

“We are very excited for the 20th anniversary,” he gleams. “Our business model has evolved to encompass much more than cat litter.”

Specifically, Normerica is celebrating the opening of two additional manufacturing plants in Rojana and Wangnoi, Thailand for the manufacturing of premium wet dog  food and wholesome dog treats. “Opened in 2008 and 2010 respectively, these state-of-the art facilities produce our premium, all natural dog treats and all natural kettle cooked meals for dogs. With both Branded and customized Private Label options available, we have the ability to ship worldwide.”

Available online and in stores, these facilities produce wholesome, all natural products primarily under Normerica’s well-established VitaLife brand—the No.1 all-natural dog treat brand in Canada.

“We are very excited about our highly regarded ‘Product of Thailand’ portfolio of premium, all- natural products.  We are continuously focused on new product development; branching out into new and exciting dog and cat product offerings.

“Normerica has a history of striving for excellence and innovation,” says Gleason. “A focus on wholesome and healthy ingredients for our treat and wet food items, as well as powerful odour controlling additives, dust-free formulas and new and exciting fragrance options for our cat litter products are areas we have had great success in.” Packaging design across all product lines is also an area of pride and excellence.  In 2009, Normerica was awarded the SIA award (Summit International Awards) Silver level achievement for the packaging design on the portfolio of VitaLife All Natural Dog Treat products.

“At Normerica, our goal is to enhance the wellbeing of pets, people, and the environment by providing earth-friendly, premium quality, and innovative pet products,” says Gleason. “The hallmarks of our dog treat and dog food products are all-natural, no additives, no preservatives, no byproducts, no fillers, wholesome, human grade ingredients and high quality.  As we own and operate the manufacturing facilities, we have complete control over the entire manufacturing and Quality Assurance process.  Product quality is of the utmost importance to us.”

Normerica has always stayed ahead of the curve. “There is certainly a big trend towards holistic and all natural products for pets,” says Gleason.  “When developing new products our philosophy has become ‘Better for You, Better for Your Pet.’  We are proud of what we choose not to include in our products.  Wholesome, healthy, all-natural.  That is our promise.” 

With the pet food industry steadily growing at two to three per cent annually, Normerica is forecasting sales growth “much higher” than that based on its ability to cut costs through inventory and logistics management.

“We have a very competitive cost structure where we logistically can service national accounts through our five different facilities (in Lethbridge, Brantford, Toronto, Dyersburg and Glenburg). One of our competitive advantages is our ability to provide a full service logistics program for our retailers, giving them the ability to combine numerous items across several product categories into one shipment.”

The Canadian market plays a vital role in the strategic growth plan for 2012, and Normerica will focus on continuing to grow the top selling, premium VitaLife brand.  “We have unique and innovative line extensions to offer.  2012 will be an exciting year.”