Mars axes Whiskas offal lines

Mars-owned Pedigree Petfoods is axing all varieties of Whiskas containing offal in an effort to reassure shoppers worried about “mad-cow” disease.

The company’s flagship catfood brand has lost market share after an onslaught from Spiller’s Felix, and is in the process of being relaunched. The relaunch is being supported by a three-month 6m campaign, breaking in the first week of October.

Kidney, heart and liver flavours are being dropped as part of the overhaul of 400g cans, which will be rebranded “New Whiskas”. The sub-brands Select Cuts and Fine Cuts will be dropped in favour of prominent labelling saying In Jelly and In Gravy. The Supermeat sub-brand will stay the same.

Whiskas’ 200g cans and aluminium trays (sub-branded Select Menu) have not been changed as they do not contain offal. The liver variety of Whiskas Supermeat is being axed and the Beef & Kidney, Duck & Heart and Lamb & Kidney Select Cut varieties are being reformulated, with other meats replacing offal.

Sources say the move is in response to consumers’ fears over BSE, and follows the trend to “humanise” petfood, making it sound more appetising to pet-owners (MW July 12).

The TV ads, devised by M&C Saatchi, feature the end line “Catisfaction”. A Pedigree Petfoods spokes-woman refused to comment.

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