In 2016, some leading dog and cat food companies enjoyed expansion and increased profits, while others faced legal battles and low sales. These nine businesses all experienced events that influenced the finances, business and marketing landscape of the pet food industry during the past year.

These nine pet food companies were the most searched-for businesses, out of more than 30,000 searches on Petfood Industry’s website in 2016. The pet food producers are listed in order of the number of searches for their name. The associated headlines were the most-viewed news for that company in 2016.

1. Nestlé Purina PetCare

AprilOSHA fines Purina Animal Nutrition for safety violations
The Purina plant in Wichita, Kansas, USA, was cited by OSHA for multiple workplace safety violations.

November Purina and Blue Buffalo settle lawsuits after two years
Purina and Blue Buffalo reached a mutually agreeable settlement of the lawsuits pending between them, related to 2014 false advertising claims.

NovemberPurina Beneful sick dog lawsuit lacked proof said judge
Purina will not face a class action lawsuit over allegations that the company’s Beneful dry food sickened dogs, reported Law 360.

2. Blue Buffalo

November 10 key facts from Blue Buffalo’s third quarter of 2016
Net sales and gross profits increased compared to the same period last year.

February Customers to get some money back in Blue Buffalo settlement
Blue Buffalo partially reimbursed some customers as a result of a class action lawsuit over the labeling of its products.

3. Mars Petcare / Royal Canin

MarchTwo Mars brands now exclusive to independent pet retail

Two superpremium Mars brands, California Natural and Evo, are now sold exclusively through independent pet specialty retailers in the US.

July Royal Canin breaks ground on South Dakota facility
Royal Canin announced the construction of a new manufacturing facility in North Sioux City, South Dakota. 

August Mars Petcare settles with Federal Trade Commission

Mars has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it falsely advertised the health benefits of its Eukanuba brand dog food.

4. WellPet

January – WellPet to acquire Sojos
WellPet acquired Sojos, a family-owned company offering a line of raw, freeze-dried pet food for dogs and cats.

5. Ainsworth

November – Ainsworth expanding pet food facility in Pennsylvania, USA
Ainsworth makes celebrity chef Rachel Ray’s line of dog and cat food at the plant.

6. Hill’s Pet Nutrition

MayHill’s pet food pulled from PetCo and PetSmart in Kansas
Hill’s Science Diet and Ideal Balance pet foods were pulled from the shelves of PetCo and PetSmart stores in Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

7. Freshpet

March – Freshpet CEO and director to retire
Freshpet announced that Richard Thompson retired as CEO and director, effective July 1, 2016.

8. Diamond Pet Foods

April Diamond Pet Food, Costco pay settlement in Salmonella cases
Diamond Pet Food began paying settlements to Canadian pet owners who say their pets were exposed to Salmonella in 2011 and 2012.

9. Big Heart Pet Brands/ J.M. Smucker

November J.M. Smucker pet food sales still down in Q2 FY17
Smucker, owner of Big Heart Brands pet foods, announced the results of their second quarter of fiscal year 2017.

NovemberMars sues Smucker over alleged pet treat similarity
Mars filed a lawsuit against Smucker for alleged trademark infringement of Mars’ Greenies Pill Pockets treats.

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