Thai Union and i-Tail expand in China, Europe with $2.5M

Thai Union, a subsidiary of tuna multinational Thai Union, is setting up new ventures in Shanghai, China, and Utrecht, Netherlands, to oversee the import, sales, and distribution of pet food and products into China and Europe. The move is part of the company's strategy to capitalize on the growing demand for premium wet pet food in these regions, as well as to expand its presence in the pet food market.

According to Just Food, i-Tail, the pet food arm of Thai Union, set up with a capital of CNY10 million ($1.4M) in its Chinese branch and a further $1.1 million (€1M) in the Dutch unit. Registration of both subsidiaries will be completed in February 2023. The company considers China a strategically important market with heightened demand for premium wet pet food. Pichitchai Wongpiya, CEO of i-Tails, said it plans to further establish its presence in the country by finding retail customers with their own brands (private labels).

The same is planned for the company’s business in Europe. “The pet food market in Europe, including the UK, surpassed $16.1 billion (€14.9B) in 2021 and is expected to increase to $18.6 billion (€17.2B) by 2026. We wish to capitalize on this and expand the business of animal feed and pet-related products in this region,” he added.

In addition, i-Tails raised $588 million (€544.7M) after going public on the Thailand Stock Exchange. The growth of China’s pet-food market makes it an attractive proposition for the company. According to Frost & Sullivan, sales in China’s cat- and dog-food market are expected to continue growing at a CAGR of 19.8% from 2021 to 2026. The company already sells pet-food products in the countries where it is setting up bases, and see the opportunity to grow in this market as their 2021 sales from China accounted for 3.2% of total proforma sales.

The Dutch operation will service a number of European markets, which Thai Union sees as attractive. The UK is a large and attractive pet-food market, which gives importance to sustainability. The company has strong ESG practices which respond well to the market. For Germany, it is the largest pet-food importer in Europe and the company sees the room to grow its business. They also intend to expand their business in producing private-label pet food in France and the Netherlands.


About i-Tail

i-Tail is a subsidiary of Thai Union which specializes in the production of pet food and related products. The company has a wide range of products including Marvo, Bellota, Paramount, and Calico Bay. It has invested in local insect protein pet-food business Orgafeed via its Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) Fund. The company's strategy is to expand its presence in the pet food market by establishing new ventures in China and Europe to import, sell, and distribute pet food and products in these regions.


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