American Pet Food Brand Instinct Brings China Success Back Home

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American Pet Food Brand Instinct Brings China Success Back Home

Demand for high-quality pet products among Chinese consumers is soaring, propelling Missouri-based raw pet food maker Instinct to new heights worldwide.

Since launching on Alibaba Group’s B2C marketplace Tmall in 2016, Instinct says its business has experienced a yearly doubling. The brand has also gleaned insights into e-commerce tools in China that it hopes to translate into other markets.

“Success in China allowed Instinct to bring on more people and expand our production footprint in the US,” Scott McLellan, Chief International Development Officer at Instinct, told Alizila.

China is the second-largest pet food market after the United States, and demand is rising.

Pet food sales grew roughly a quarter year-over-year during the 2022 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the largest retail event worldwide, a recent report by Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce site Tmall Global found.

In this crowded space, Instinct sets itself apart by focusing on raw pet food made without cooked ingredients to preserve nutrients.

“To deliver a truly rich, nutritionally balanced food for our dogs and cats, avoiding the use of heat really delivers significant benefits for our pets,” said Neil Thompson, CEO of Instinct.

The brand has harnessed Tmall’s livestreaming and loyalty programs to raise awareness about raw food diets and assess consumer demands, tools Instinct hopes to use in its home market.

“We can bring back some of our learnings from Alibaba and better manage our e-commerce business in the US,” said McLellan.

Key quotes

“Since we launched the flagship store in 2016, the business has just grown exponentially,” said McLellan.

“In China, we’ve more than doubled our business in the last three years, so our trajectory is even more dynamic than we’re seeing here in the United States,” said Thompson.

“China gives us insight as to how we manage our e-commerce or our online business even more effectively than we might do here in the United States,” said Thompson.

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