A Perthshire-based pet food business has announced the launch of new plants to manufacture cold press and raw food.
Wilsons Pet Food, whose roots can be traced back more than 100 years, has set out “ambitious” plans and is looking to capitalise on the increasing popularity of high meat content premium pet food diets and the growing trend to feed raw.
The firm has a factory being commissioned in Blairgowrie, where it is based, after removing the small pilot line, and it will be purpose-built for the cold press manufacturing process.
The project is being supported by the Scottish Government. The second unit Wilsons is getting is for raw frozen food, has its own solar farm, and has been built by Perth Council.
The business, which is now owned by Craig Wallace and his family, dates back to when Robert Wilson decided to give up “back-breaking” work on his farm near Dunfermline and become a grain and feed merchant.
However, it was his son John, who sowed the seeds of a thriving business.
Wallace has spent the last decade working in the food industry from both the manufacturing and consultancy side of the business, and bought Wilsons in a bid to improve the quality of dog food being sold in the market.
With what is described as the only purpose-built factory in the UK to produce cold press food, Wilsons is hoping to expand its customer base. It is looking to establish its brand even more in the pet food market as well as maintaining its presence in its more traditional markets of working dog and agriculture.
Wallace said its range of cold press dog food includes super foods such as ginger, turmeric, and dandelion root, and “was developed with the help of pet nutritionists Milka and Damir Tesla who organise the Nordic Pet Food Conference and are experts in the field”.
He added: “It was essential for us to keep the product as natural as possible and so we have prioritised achieving nutritional balance through ingredients. Wherever possible we use all UK ingredients.
“We have had to source the best rice from abroad but even our seaweed is sourced from UK coastal waters. Not having to import product is a cost saving for us also, which we can pass on to the customers.”
The business is also looking to expand its stockists further south and work with retailers who specialise in stocking premium and raw food diets, especially independent and grouped pet stores.