The Forthglade ethos: if you won’t eat it, don’t feed it to your pets… – exited in 2020

While consumers have become increasingly aware that their pets deserve to be fed as well as themselves, Forthglade’s philosophy has always been: ‘If you’re not prepared to eat it yourself, don’t feed it to your pets.’

Founded in Devon in 1971, Forthglade is the UK’s most established maker of natural pet food, producing a range of natural wet dog food that contains 90% meat, minerals and just a little water. The brand was an early pioneer in providing grain-free products alongside its core range of natural foods and at least 95 per cent of ingredients are sourced in the UK, many as locally as possible.

In 2011, the brand was bought by a team including current joint managing directors Gerard Lovell, who had previously built up and sold family owned confectioners Jakemans, and Chris Brooking, a former executive at Heinz and McVitie’s. The pair rebranded Forthglade while retaining its central ethos – to create natural pet food with nutritionally balanced ingredients with added vitamins and minerals that contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. In 2014, it began exporting to countries including Kuwait, Cyprus, South Korea and Russia.

With humanisation being one of the key drivers of the pet food market, and more and more owners being increasingly conscious about the quality of their pet food, we were delighted to invest £6m into the Forthglade business in 2015 to support its further growth. At the time of our investment, Forthglade employed 75 staff and reached sales of over £11m. As part of the deal, food industry veteran Peter Farquhar, previously chairman of Dorset Cereals and Clipper Tea, joined as chairman.

The investment enabled the business to expand its distribution, establishing its own direct to consumer channel, as well as develop new ranges such as the innovative Cold Pressed Dry dog food. With strong demand came the need to build a new state of the art factory at Okehampton, the size of several football pitches, ensuring that Forthglade can continue manufacturing one of the most  premium, but affordable brands on the market.

Forthglade has proudly been leading the charge for five decades and looks forward to many more years of innovation in its bid to bring the healthiest natural food to our pets.

Although we were approached by other potential investors, from the very first meeting Piper has demonstrated the value it can add. It was this, combined with the team’s undeniable passion for creating brand legends that set Piper apart.

Gerard Lovell, Joint Managing Director, Forthglade

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