The growth story is proving to be a magnet. There are new entrants, some who manage to create a niche for themselves and some who just jostle for space. OPUS PET has powered on with a simple philosophy- health and happiness of pets. The 2 year old company has now gathered wind beneath its wings and is poised to emerge as a game changer.
Mr. O P Singh, with over 30 years of experience in the animal health industry ranging from small to large animals, opines that “Over the years, I went from companion animal to poultry to dairy, but I must confess that I feel a different passion about pet healthcare.” Mr O P Singh is a captain of animal health industry, known to relentlessly rally stakeholders to realise the true potential of the industry.
Mr Singh, who has seen the industry evolve in the last three decades, says, “Nutrition forms the base for good health -- be it animal or human. When I started out, pets had a secondary status in the house. They would often spend their day in the veranda, be fed scraps for food and sleep the night in the front yard. Today, pets are part of the household, have found themselves a place at the dining table, are served gourmet food and have luxurious lodging arrangements. It’s not rocket science. Pets love unconditionally, and the feeling one experiences is indescribable, incomparable. This relationship transcends all worldly bonds and alone will dictate the future trends in this industry, is what I’ve always maintained.”
These words proved to be prophetic. Pet care industry has found it’s right place on the world stage in the past decade. Food, pharma, supplement, wellness, gadgets, accessories, all segments have seen a phenomenal growth.
So, what does OPUS PET bring to the table?
“We don’t just aspire to. Through our product offerings we bring the same level of care, attention, science and safety to pet care as is expected for humans. In an over-crowded market, this is helping us find our niche as a sensitive and responsive pet care company.” says Karan Singh, Co-founder of OPUS PET.
Karan Singh, Co-founder, OPUS PET (L); Eashan Kiwalkar, Co-founder, OPUS PET
So, its safe to assume that it’s the human paradigm at work.
Pet humanisation has been a key driver of growth for pet care industry. Those in the know have experienced the transition of a pet owner to a ‘pet parent’. At 25% CAGR, India is the fastest growing pet industry globally. Urbanisation, nuclear families, need for companionship, financial affluence are making pet adoption an easy decision to make. Since COVID pet adoption has seen a spike.
“Companion animal segment was very attractive because it has consistently maintained a high double-digit growth over the years, world-over, and in India, it is projected to outpace global growth in the next 5 years,” states Karan Singh.
Pet humanisation has made pet parents more aware, who now naturally equate the healthcare of their pets with their own. This has paved the way for daily health, multivitamins, supplements and preventive care for pets.
“Immunity is a very big theme in the pet supplement portfolio. A good immune system, a healthy gut, will pre-empt 60% of diseases. So, there is a marked improvement in the health status of animals. Vaccination is also followed through, which not only insures the pets against life threatening diseases but has also brought down the economic burden of treating diseases”, adds Karan.
Both in terms of volume and value, food remains the biggest contributor in the pet care economy. Over-indulgence and lack of physical activity has exposed pets to lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer and affected the life expectancy.
“Lifestyle diseases of pets are the most challenging for pet parents,” says Eashan Kiwalkar, Co-founder . “We were certain that this was an area of intervention that would help further our goal of welfare and health of pets. When I was studying in Dublin, it was quite a revelation of sorts in terms of how much animal behaviour, health and nutrition and customer psyche was studied and understood abroad by healthcare companies. They were on point with their offerings,” he added.
“We were cognizant of the fact that the industry was crowded. Veterinarians and pet parents were spoilt for choice. But that did not mean that there was no room for something that could bring irrefutable and indispensable value. The inspiration behind our range is undoubtedly the pets themselves.” says Karan.
OPUS PET has a JV with Ireland-based Mervue Laboratories. A 32-year-old animal health expert, Mervue has been a champion of ‘disease management through nutrition’. “What makes this JV exciting is that Mervue has independent product lines for canines & felines. We have a special range of feline products, for the first time in India. Some refer to us at the ‘cat’ company, and we are not complaining! In fact, it makes us proud that we have been able to plug a definite gap,” Eashan opines.
Online retail is emerging as pet care products sales channels, especially after the pandemic. On its sustainability, Karan believes that “It entirely depends on the category of the product. Pet parents nowadays will go online, check for label claims, check for ratings and make their selection. However, in our case, it’s a very conscious decision on our part to not sell our products online. We consider it our responsibility to make pet parents more aware to the perils of ‘self-medication’, unless they are veterinarians themselves.
What’s next for this young company? “Technology driven, innovative products. We are the first company to bring nano silver in wound management in companion animal care, followed by canine specific seizure management solution. One of our products has even been adjudged as “Product of the Year” by a leading veterinary body. Pet parents have reached out to share with us their experiences with our product and how it has helped alleviate the suffering of their pet.This recognition, acceptance drives home the point that yes, we are doing something right. And there is no feeling I can compare it with. ” says Karan.
“We are in a business where our customer cannot talk. Cannot tell us what they feel. It is our biggest responsibility to do good by our customers. And it is an onerous one, but one that we take very seriouslyAs a company, we are big believers of green products, naturally sourced compositions. These are safe for long term consumption, have no metabolic load on the animal, negating any stress. So yes, this forms the thrust of our product pipeline” says Eashan.
‘I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention here how stellar a role our veterinarians have played in transforming the face of pet practice. I feel that veterinarians in our country are long overdue the respect and recognition they deserve” adds O P Singh.