Nestlé Purina PetCare

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company
Type Subsidiary
Industry Pet food
Founded St. Louis, Missouri (1894 as Purina Mills)
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri,
United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people William H. Danforth, Founder
Products Dog food, cat food, animal health products
Owner(s) Nestlé S.A.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is the pet food division of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., following its acquisition of the American Ralston Purina Company on December 12, 2001 and subsequent merger with Nestlé's Friskies PetCare Company.[1] As a wholly owned subsidiary, it is headquartered at the General Office in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.[2]



Purina traces its roots back to 1894, when founder William H. Danforth began producing feed for various farm animals under the name Purina Mills. The predominant brand for each animal was generally referred to as "Chow"; hence there was "Purina Horse Chow", "Purina Dog Chow", "Purina Cat Chow", "Purina Rabbit Chow", "Purina Pig Chow" and even "Purina Monkey Chow". Later, in 1902, he merged with university professor Webster Edgerly, founder of Ralstonism, who was at the time producing breakfast cereals, to form the "Ralston-Purina Company".[3] In 1994, the Ralston "human food" operations of the Ralston Purina Company were spun off into a new company called Ralcorp Holdings.

Merger with Nestlé

The animal feed business became the subject of an acquisition bid by Swiss-based Nestlé, whose Friskies brand was the other leading brand of pet food in the U.S. Nestlé S.A. and U.S. Ralston Purina Company announced in January 2001 that they had entered into a definitive merger agreement.[4] Under the agreement, Nestlé acquired all of the outstanding shares of Ralston Purina (NYSE: RAL) for US$ 33.50 per share in cash. The offer represented a premium of 36 percent over the closing price on Friday, January 12, 2001. The transaction had an enterprise value of US$10.3 billion ($10.0 billion equity plus $1.2 billion of net debt, minus $0.9 billion of financial investments). Both corporations saw this major strategic transaction as the ideal way to benefit from their combined know-how, complementary strengths and international presence in the growing pet-care market. Ever since it acquired the Friskies business with Carnation in 1985, Nestlé has considered pet-care as a strategic growth area, and it has repeatedly strengthened it through acquisitions (Alpo in 1994, Spillers in 1998, and Cargill Argentina in 2000). Several brands of pet food (e.g., "Meow Mix") had to be divested separately to meet antitrust concerns. Purina Mills, Inc., the U.S. animal feed business that was sold by Ralston Purina Company in 1986, was purchased by Koch Industries in 1998, but a U.S. bankruptcy court cancelled out all equity held by Koch in order to maintain the company's viability. Purina Mills LLC is now owned by Land O'Lakes. Purina brands are now made and marketed by a division of Nestlé (Nestlé Purina PetCare) which is still headquartered in St. Louis.

While primarily a pet food company, Ralston Purina also made some other pet-related products, such as Tidy Cats brand and Yesterday's News which is made from recycled newspaper cat litter, purchased from Edward Lowe Industries in 1990. Also, Purina has honoured several Canadian animals every year since 1968 in their Animal Hall of Fame. The latest inductees included a police service dog who "rushed and subdued an armed robber".

Pet food recall

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company announced on March 30, 2007, a precautionary measure to voluntarily withdraw its 5.3 ounce Mighty Dog brand pouch products that were produced by Menu Foods, Inc. from December 3, 2006, through March 14, 2007.[5] This withdrawal was in response to the recall initiated earlier by Menu Foods, a contract manufacturer that does limited business with Purina, as well as with other pet food manufacturers. At that time, only Mighty Dog 5.3 ounce pouch products are being withdrawn by Nestlé Purina; however, on March 31, 2007, the recall was expanded to "all sizes and varieties of its Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date codes."

To date, nearly 60 million containers of pet food sold under 100 different brand labels have been recalled.[6]

Acquisitions and diversifications

In 1977, Ralston Purina acquired Missouri Arena Corporation and the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League franchise. The franchise was sold in the 1980s. During the company's ownership of the team, they changed the name of the St. Louis Arena to the Checkerdome, reflecting the Ralston Purina logo.

Ralston Purina purchased the Eveready Battery Company in 1986, owner of the Eveready and Energizer brands. The company was spun off in 2000.

Ralston Purina purchased Continental Baking Company, makers of Wonder bread and Hostess cakes, from ITT in 1984. Ralston did spin off Continental Baking Company which then was bought by Interstate Brands Corporation (IBC), with headquarters in Kansas City, MO.


Well-known brands include:

  • Alpo - dog food
  • Arthurs - cat food. UK only
  • Bakers Complete- dry dog food
  • Beneful - dog food
  • Bonio - dog biscuits sold in the UK
  • Bonnie - dog food. Australia only (with kangaroo meat)
  • Chef's Blend - dry cat food
  • Chuck Wagon
  • Dog Chow along with sister products Puppy Chow, Cat Chow and Kitten Chow
  • Felix - cat food. Known in Sweden as Pussi and in Finland as Latz
  • Friskies - cat food, but in Finland also used as a dog food brand. Known as Go-Cat in the UK and as Gati in South America
  • Go-Cat- dry cat food
  • Gourmet - cat food. Known as Fancy Feast in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Known as Mon Petit in Japan and Hong Kong
  • Kit-n-Kaboodle - dry cat food
  • Mighty Dog - dog food
  • ONE - both dog and cat food
  • Purina Pro Plan - both dog and cat food
  • SnackAttack - dog treats. Known as Beggin' Strips in the US and Canada
  • Tender Vittles - cat food. Now only sold in Canada
  • Winalot - canned dog food sold in the UK

Ralston Purina was famed for its "checkerboard" trademark. The inspiration for the Ralston Purina logo came from a family from founder William Danforth's childhood who dressed in checkerboard cloth.[7] The checkerboard trademark was introduced in 1904.[8] Ralston Purina's headquarters was called Checkerboard Square. The checkerboard logo then evolved into personal development concept Danforth put forth in his book I Dare You, in which he proposed the four key components in life ("Physical", "Mental", "Social" and "Religious") need to be in balance, and one area was not to develop at expense of the other.[9] The concept became intertwined with the company in 1921, when it began selling feed that was pressed in cubes called "checkers".[10]

See also

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  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Our Company." Nestlé Purina PetCare. Retrieved on August 19, 2009.
  3. ^ [|Carman, Tim] (2009-04-16), "Food History Potpourri: Ralston Purina’s D.C. Roots", Washington City Paper,, retrieved 2009-10-19 
  4. ^ Ackman, Dan (2001-01-16). "Nestle Seals Ralston Deal". Forbes ( LLC). Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  5. ^ Alpo Brand Prime Cuts In Gravy Canned Dog Food Voluntary Nationwide Recall
  6. ^ Contaminated pet food recall once again expands
  7. ^ "A Glimpse from the Past to the Present". Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Danforth, William. I Dare You!. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 0766127869. 
  10. ^ "William H. Danforth, Founder". Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-10-19. [dead link]

External links

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