Indian pet-food brand Drools recently received a US$60 million investment from L Catterton, a private equity firm that has a strategic relationship with LVMH, that has a track record of growing pet-food businesses across the world. This investment marks its first entry into the Indian marketplace. The pet food market in India is expected to grow by approximately 20 per cent annually over the next five years to reach over $1.2 billion in 2028, driven by increased urbanisation, declining hou
household sizes, rising income levels and the increasing humanisation of pets. Drools has been a beneficiary of these demographic shifts, having almost quadrupled its revenue over the past three years as it expanded its omnichannel business across India. According to Dr Shashank Sinha, CEO and veterinarian of Drools, the company has implemented various strategies to ensure the brand’s success and growth. “One key strategy has been establishing strong partnerships with veterinarians and reputable breeders as our valued allies to effectively bridge the gap with pet parents, providing them with comprehensive education and support,” he told Inside Retail. Dr Shashank Sinha, CEO and veterinarian of Drools A multi-pronged approach By strategically harnessing the power of celebrity endorsements, the company has also successfully elevated its brand credibility and expanded its visibility in the market. “Additionally, we have embraced omnichannel marketing, effectively utilising physical stores, e-commerce platforms, and social media to provide a seamless and integrated customer experience,” he said. Sinha added that the brand’s e-commerce sales have grown rapidly, from 4 per cent of total sales to 27 per cent, proving the effectiveness of its digital presence. “Moreover, we have recognised the rising demand for quick commerce, particularly in the pet-food category, where customers often require last-minute purchases,” he noted. He acknowledged that digital advertising has played a pivotal role in Drools’ marketing efforts, allowing the brand to target a wider audience and achieve better yields. “Looking ahead, we are focused on expanding our international footprint, aiming to reach 50 countries, surpassing our current presence in 22 countries,” he stated. The company has become the number one pet food brand in Sri Lanka and Nepal. It also aims to expand its product range to countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Gulf countries and Southeast Asian countries are a priority for expansion. Omnichannel is key According to Sinha, Drools has distribution across all major retail channels in both the online and offline space including specialty pet stores, veterinary clinics, supermarkets, large general stores, pharmacies, and e-commerce channels. “Pets, and pet parents, are always at the core of the business. We built the omnichannel route to market, so that we can educate pet parents on the right nutrition, and clean ingredients, so that pets get the perfect nutrition that they deserve,” he stressed. Sinha reiterated that the brand offers a diverse range of products that cater to different dietary preferences, life stages, breed sizes, and specific health requirements. “Additionally, the brand’s commitment to research and development allows for the introduction of innovative pet food options, maintaining its position as a trusted choice for pet owners seeking convenient and nutritionally balanced solutions,” he said. The future According to Sinha, L Catterton’s expertise in consumer goods and pet industries will provide invaluable guidance, enabling Drools to refine its growth strategy, identify market opportunities, and make informed decisions. “Leveraging L Catterton’s extensive network, Drools can explore strategic partnerships, collaborations, and acquisitions to strengthen its market position and access new customer segments,” he explained. In addition to the investment, he added that this association will also provide Drools with access to L Catterton’s expertise in marketing, sales, and distribution. Sinha stated that the partnership will also accelerate Drools’ expansion plans, both domestically and internationally. “Additionally, the partnership enhances Drools’ ability to attract top talent, further fueling growth and innovation across the company,” he elaborated. Little details Embracing responsible business practices while delivering high-quality pet-food products has been the hallmark of the company’s growth trajectory so far. “We prioritise ingredient sourcing, selecting suppliers that meet strict quality standards and use human-grade ingredients, ensuring the nutritional excellence of our products,” Sinha explained. Additionally, Drools is committed to environmental sustainability, actively working to reduce waste, conserve resources, and promote eco-friendly practices throughout its operations. Market expansion Drools is committed to sustaining its growth momentum by strategically targeting new markets, increasing market share, and driving profitability. Its expansion strategy places a strong emphasis on exploring export opportunities. “We plan to enter the Russian market this year and the United States in the near future. As a company, we invest a lot in R&D and ensure stringent quality checks are carried out to maintain the taste and consistency of the product,” he added. Sinha believes that with a wide range of products developed to international quality standards, Drools has become one of the fastest-growing pet food brands in South Asia.