WHM Pet Group spreads its wings during the pandemic

Company: WHM Pet Group
  • Suet Rolls
  • WHM Driby Factory

Wild Bird Care & Pet Food specialist WHM Pet Group, best known for their brands Marriage’s and Honeyfield’s, have added new capabilities to their UK manufacturing in the past 12 months, following strong sales results in 2020. Capital investment from WHM Pet Group into their Driby site in Lincolnshire will now see their brands and product ranges set up well for further growth in 2021 and beyond.

During 2020, the UK spent most of the time in lockdown and sales of wild bird care products grew - with more consumers being at home to enjoy garden birds. The Horticulture Trade Association, stated their consumer tracking showed that over two million more people were feeding and encouraging wildlife to their outdoor spaces at this time. It was also at this time that WHM Pet Group continued to give seasoned and beginner wild bird lovers helpful tips on social media channels with their popular educational series ‘Bird Bites’ from the Honeyfield’s brand.

In the height of the season, many pet food manufacturers were having problems with cost and shortages of raw materials yet WHM Pet Group were able to accommodate increased demand and help these manufacturers and retailers out during this challenging time for the market. This was due to WHM’s supply chain expertise but also because of continuous investment in UK based manufacturing. WHM have invested £5m in their manufacturing site in Driby since 2012, which has seen it develop into one of the UK’s most advanced wild bird food manufacturing plants, with 110sqft of storage and racking. 

In the last 12 months, £2m in capital investments has produced end of line robotics (which has increased tonnage produced per hour), automation and high-speed packing machines. This has all helped contribute to improved manufacturing levels, increased capacity to cope with increased market demand and allowed better quality packs and new formats.

WHM Pet Group now employs 101 members of staff to support customers, this includes a wider sales team that covers all areas of the UK, who have helped WHM Pet Group to achieve year on year growth of 31%, to achieve £36m sales turnover. Through this growth and operational efficiencies, this has allowed more investment into the quality of NPD and technical functions. According to the PFMA (2021) pet report, bird foods such as peanuts and fat balls increased by almost 20% in 2020, which means that WHM were able to grow with the market and exceed market growth in areas. 

All of WHM Pet Group’s brands have benefitted from this investment, but especially wild bird brand Honeyfield’s with the introduction of a refreshed suet offering and a new manufacturing plant at Driby in 2021. Previously outsourced, Honeyfield’s now produces suet pellets and suet blocks in-house and have experienced positive results since the re-launch of this range. Honeyfield’s is a brand dedicated to innovation, which has been extended through to the new Suet range with plans to not only grow their brand but to grow the Wild Bird Care market, by creating new ideas towards feeding the birds. The new developments mean that Honeyfield’s can constantly innovate, test and create new products in-house.

WHM Pet Group’s impressive capabilities and ambitious approach to company operations has meant they are going from strength to strength in the pet food and wild bird care market. Retailers can rest assured that they will be looked after in times of extreme demand and supplied with quality products from experts in the pet market.

To speak to your local sales rep and find out more about the ranges available, please contact sales-support@marriagesmillers.co.uk or ring 01430 875853.


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