Direct-to-consumer digital dog food business saw turnover soar 76% to £23.6m for the 14-month period to December 31, 2018 compared to the £13.4m of the 12-month period to October 31, 2017.
However, financial losses for the 14 months rose to £7.2m (£2.8m to October 2017). Highest loss figures were £9.6m for administration expenses and £8.4m for marketing expenses.
In its annual report, director Melissa Hedley Lewis said: “This was planned and was driven by significant marketing investment to acquire new customers…thereby driving the long-term growth of the business. The underlying business operation (excluding acquisition marketing spend) was profitable.”
London-based Tails.com provides more than six million ‘bespoke meals’ to tens of thousands of dogs across the UK every month, ‘each with their own unique recipe’.
In April 2018, Nestlé Purina PetCare acquired a majority stake in the company, though the business operates as a standalone entity with co-founder and CEO James Davidson at the helm.
The subscription box sector is growing with more and more businesses targeting the direct-to-consumer market.
One other provider that has attracted major investment is Butternut Box, a London-based fresh dog food business co-founded by Irishman Kevin Glynn, which in May 2019 raised £15m in investment, bringing total investment in the company to £21m.
The company says it has made more than eight million meals for dogs across the UK and last year saw revenues rise by 700%.
Butcher’s Pet Care has also entered the pet subscription market with Blink!, a monthly cat food subscription service. Blink! is also sold in grocery including Tesco.