Ralston Purina plans new product launches

US petcare giant Ralston Purina hopes to boost its UK market share with the launch of successful US products following its purchase of the UK company, Edward Baker Petfoods.

Edward Baker was bought for 106.3m at the end of last year. It is to be rebranded as Ralston Purina North Europe, although the Edward Baker brand itself will be retained. Edward Baker marketing director Gordon Smith will also stay on.

“The Purina brand name will be introduced discreetly but subordinated to the main Edward Baker logo,” says a Ralston UK spokesman.

Ralston plans to step up its marketing efforts in the dry petfood market – thought to be worth 405m in 1997 (Pet Food Manufacturers Association) – and to introduce a range of US pet treats.

Purina Pro Plan, a dry dogfood, will feature in UK TV ads for the first time in a campaign through Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare. Dog treats such as Beggin’ Strips will be introduced in the UK later this year. Whisker Lickin’s – a cat treat – will be launched in the UK as Lickin’s.

Product advertising for the new brand is expected to be awarded to Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare.

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