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Top Opportunities in Rapidly Growing Pet Products Market (FRPT, CSOC, BARK, CHWY, WOOF, KR, WMT, TSCO)

EDM Media 19-Sep-2023 3:30 AM

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The pet food industry is poised for strong, sustained growth for several key reasons. The most important driver is the fact that pet ownership rates are on the rise globally. This trend is riding tailwinds from demographic shifts such as increasing urbanization and a growing middle class in emerging markets. As families in developing economies gain more disposable income, they are more inclined to adopt pets and spend on quality pet food.

There is also a notable trend towards premiumization and humanization of pet food. Modern pet owners are increasingly concerned about the well-being of their animals and are willing to spend more on high-quality, organic, and specialty foods. This not only drives up average selling prices but also opens up avenues for high-margin products that could significantly boost profitability for companies in this space.

The pet products space also has strong barriers to entry due to rigorous regulations and quality control standards. That means that future growth is likely to go to current players in the market.

With that in mind, we take a closer look below at some of the more interesting stories in the space that investors should have on the radar.

Freshpet Inc (NASDAQ:FRPT) engages in manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of pet food and pet treats for dogs and cats. Its products are blends of fresh meats, vegetables and fruits farmed locally and made at Freshpet kitchens.

Its products include Deli Fresh Grain Free Chicken Recipe for Dogs, Joy Turkey and Apple Bites Treats, Nature's Fresh Grain Free Chicken Recipe for Cats, and Vital Grain Free Chicken and Ocean Whitefish Recipe for Cats.

Freshpet Inc (NASDAQ:FRPT) recently announced announced that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with JANA Partners, one of the Company's largest shareholders. As part of the agreement, Freshpet has appointed Timothy McLevish and Joseph E. Scalzo to its Board of Directors effective immediately.

According to the release, Mr. McLevish brings over 20 years of operational and financial leadership experience across multiple industries, including in branded food and retail. Mr. McLevish served as Chief Financial Officer at five public companies including Carrier Corporation, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Corporation and Mead Corporation.

"We are pleased to reach a constructive agreement with JANA. The Freshpet business has tremendous momentum and this agreement will help position us to continue delivering the results our shareholders expect," said Billy Cyr, CEO of Freshpet. "We also welcome Tim and Joe to our team and are confident they will be valued colleagues and members of our Board as we work to continue capitalizing on the significant opportunities ahead and creating value for shareholders."

Even in light of this news, FRPT hasn't really done much of anything over the past week, with shares logging no net movement over that period. Over the past month, shares of the stock have suffered from clear selling pressure, dropping by roughly -8%.

Freshpet Inc (NASDAQ:FRPT) managed to rope in revenues totaling $183.3M in overall sales during the company's most recently reported quarterly financial data a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 25.6%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels exceeding current liabilities ($358.5M against $77.4M).

Caduceus Software Systems Corp (OTC:CSOC) is one of the most interesting stocks in this group right now. The company is the parent corporation of McLovin's Pet, a foremost player in the premium pet food and supply sector. McLovin's is an exciting growth story that could be ready to gain some mainstream recognition with its latest news.

Specifically, the company announced a huge expansion last week into new retail channels that actually took place earlier this year under the radar.

Caduceus Software Systems Corp (OTC:CSOC) management noted in the release that pet parents can now find McLovin's high-quality pet food products in store at Tractor Supply Co (NASDAQ:TSCO) and Pet Supermarket and online at Petco Health and Wellness Company Inc (NASDAQ:WOOF).

As noted in the release, the significance of these partnerships cannot be overstated. Tractor Supply operates over 1,900 stores nationwide and Pet Supermarket boasts over 200 locations across the U.S. These collaborations provide McLovin's with an unprecedented opportunity to reach pet parents across the country.

The release also stated that McLovin's more affordable product line, Fur Valley Pet, is now available online at Chewy Inc (NYSE:CHWY), Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT), and Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) through its Vitacost online store.

"McLovin's has seen exponential growth in recent years, and it is with great excitement that we announce our recent retail partnerships," said David Ji, Chief Executive Officer of McLovin's Pet. "These collaborations enable us to offer our top-tier pet food products to a wider audience, ensuring that more pets can enjoy the benefits of nutritious, delicious meals."

Caduceus Software Systems Corp (OTC:CSOC) management is telling us, in no uncertain terms, that these partnerships are aimed to power greater market penetration and a wider end-market footprint

"We are delighted to expand our product offerings through our Fur Valley Pet line on platforms like, Kroger's online shop Vitacost and Walmart Marketplace," added Ji. "Online shopping is a significant part of the consumer landscape, and we are committed to meeting the needs of our customers wherever they choose to shop."

BARK, Inc. (NYSE:BARK) bills itself as a dog-centric company, engaged in making products, services, and content for dogs. Its omni-channel brand, BARK, serves dogs in the following categories: Fun, Food, Health, and Home. It operates through the Direct to Consumer and Commerce segments.

The Direct to Consumer segment is composed of subscription-based products delivered on a monthly basis. The Commerce segment refers to the sale of BARK products in retail stores and other e-tailers.

BARK, Inc. (NYSE:BARK) recently announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $7.5 million of its common shares, the maximum amount set forth under the terms related to the Company's outstanding convertible notes. This decision reflects the Company's strong financial position, continued expansion into promising categories like consumables, and positive outlook on its future cash position.

"We remain committed to delivering value to our shareholders and today's announcement is a testament to our healthy balance sheet and confidence in our ability to execute on our key initiatives," said Zahir Ibrahim, Chief Financial Officer. "While limited by the terms related to our convertible notes, which cap our share repurchase capacity to $7.5 million each calendar year, we have the opportunity to repurchase over 3% of our market capitalization at current share prices. Given our robust runway, we believe this is a strategic use of capital."

The stock has suffered a bit of late, with shares of BARK taking a hit in recent action, down about -14% over the past week. Shares of the stock have powered higher over the past month, rallying roughly 2% in that time on strong overall action.

BARK, Inc. (NYSE:BARK) managed to rope in revenues totaling $120.6M in overall sales during the company's most recently reported quarterly financial data a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of -8.1%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels exceeding current liabilities ($169.1M against $80.6M).

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