The Iams Company manufactures premium cat and dog food that is distributed in over 70 countries worldwide. The company was founded in 1946 by Paul Iams, an animal nutritionist, who developed the world’s first animal-based protein, dry dog food. He later went on to develop a new dog food, named Eukanuba. The company was sold to Proctor and Gamble (P&G) in September 1999. Since then ‘‘Iams has grown its share of the U.S. pet food market from 8.7 percent in 1999 to 13.7 percent in late 2002 and Iams is now one of P&G's billion-dollar brands with 13 quarters of consecutive growth.’’ (Cincinnati bizjournals, 2009). Iams was initially a purely business to business company as the food was only distributed to veterinarians, animal breeders, and specialty pet stores. However, more recently due to demand, P&G's marketing strategy has took Iams products from pet specialty shops to the main grocery stores both in the UK and the US but grocery stores still refrain from offering the full Iams product choice as the food is still predominantly a niche product as it is higher priced than most mainstream pet foods because of its quality and health and nutritional differentiation. The majority of the Iams range remains through veterinarians and animal breeders. Eukanuba continues to be sold to only veterinarians, animal breeders and pet speciality stores ‘‘although some industry watchers think it's only a matter of time before Eukanuba can be found alongside Iams in grocery isles.’’ ‘‘P&G officials said their own research shows that 70 percent of U.S. pet-food buyers never shop for it in specialty stores’’ (Enquirer, 1995) making it possible that Iams and Eukanuba could potentially move away from the niche market and fully into the consumer mass market in the future.
The Iams Company has seen an extreme change since being bought by the 6th largest corporation in the world by market capitalization (P&G). ‘‘As P&G expands Iams nationally and across the globe, into Asia and other new markets, it is increasing Iams manufacturing capabilities to keep up with the growth.’’ At this rate of growth, Iams’ product range is expanding with new products being developed all the time. A key strength of Iams is its established product base, its products have been distributed in the same veterinary practices and pet speciality stores and businesses for many years. ‘‘By the time all the orders came in, it was going to require about 2,500 trucks (for delivery) day one, and 3,600 trucks in the first two days,” Mr. Ansell, president of Iams, said. “Just to put this in perspective from a supply and logistics standpoint, the previous biggest launch in P&G's history required about 715 trucks” (Enquirer, 1995). This indicates the established product base Iams now has after being taken over by P&G. The company has strong links with veterinary practices globally where they use both Iams and Eukanuba products as their main product offering. On the official Iams website there is a feature which claims ‘Iams is veternarian reccommended’ according to a recent veternarian survey. This claim featured on the website is an effective marketing strategy by the company as it can be seen by veterinarians and businesses alike as well as consumers at home (pet-owners) and reinforcing the fact veterinary practices are using and promoting Iams will appeal to its market as it projects quality and reassurance. Iams’ product range features three life stages within cat and dog food; kitten & puppy/junior, adult and senior & mature. Within these, there are also two food types; dry and wet food. The food is packaged in bags and pouches rather than tins like most mainstream pet food, this is another effective marketing strategy, as again it projects quality and differentiates the products from other brands.
As well as having an established and expanding product base, The Iams Company also thrive on quality....