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Pedigree Petfoods is a company that manufactures pet food located at Melton Mowbraymarker, Leicestershiremarker, Englandmarker with another factory in Peterboroughmarker, Cambridgeshire. Pedigree comes from a French phrase meaning birds feet, representing the shape of family trees. Pedigree Petfoods is also sold in Australia and the United States. Pedigree is the most popular dog food in the world.



In 1934, Mars Confections, a large chocolate confectionery company that had been based in Sloughmarker since 1932, acquired Chappel Brothers in Manchester. This company sold offcuts of meat for canned petfood as Chappie; meat which is unfit for human consumption. Virtually as much is spent on packaging as the raw materials of the food.


In 1935 production was moved to Slough. In 1939, the company became known as Chappie Ltd. During the Second World War production was hampered and after the war, raw materials for metal cans was severely limited.

Melton Mowbray

In 1951, annual sales reached £1m, and the company moved to Melton Mowbray. In 1953, the company operated seven days a week, twenty four hours a day on a shift system. A continuous sterilisation process was introduced instead of batch processing. Due to making more than the Chappie product, the company name changed to Petfoods Ltd. In 1972, this became Pedigree Petfoods Ltd. A new factory on Shrewsbury Avenue in Woodston, Peterboroughmarker opened in October 1974 which originally produced semi-moist products such as Bounce. In March 1975 it became the Pedigree Petfoods division of Mars Ltd. During the 1970s, around 2,500 workers were at Melton and 200 at Peterborough and produced around 400,000 tonnes of animal food a year and virtually doubled production. The raw materials came from the Oakleigh Manufacturing company in Ascotmarker. Around 3 million cans were used per day at the Melton plant; cans were delivered every 30 minutes, to limit storage space, from the Metal Box company (which became Novar plc). At this time, Whiskas was the company's biggest product by sales closely followed by Pedigree Chum, although more in volume was sold of Pedigree Chum. Whiskas sold four times as much as Kitekat, although only half as much was spent on advertising Kitekat than Whiskas.

Towards the late 1980s and in the 1990s, the company came under much more competition from what became Nestlé Purina PetCare. A new £22m pouch production line opened in November 2007. The company is a member of the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association.

Mars Inc

It is now a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. The UK division of Mars Inc. has been called Masterfoods since January 2002, until it was split into 4 separate entities in 2007 : Mars Petcare UK, Mars Complementary Petcare UK, Mars Chocolate UK and Mars Food UK. Previously it was Pedigree Masterfoods and Mars Confectionery (a division, making the Mars Bar, is based in Sloughmarker).


Selection of Pedigree dog food
The company makes the market leaders Pedigree (dog food) and Whiskas (cat food), as well as Kitekat (cat food) and Pal (dog food). The slogan used for many years for Pedigree dog food is "Top breeders recommend it" with a current slogan of "We're for dogs". For Whiskas' the old slogan was "8 out of 10 owners say their cat prefers it" and for Pal it is "Prolongs Active Life".

In the United Statesmarker, the original slogan for the Pedigree brand was "Recommended by top breeders". It was replaced in 2007 by "Dogs rule", and feature a series of advertisements showing the product and a dog on white backgrounds eating. The sound for these ads is invariably extremely loudly-miked dog mouthnoise.


Masterfoods, until recently, sponsored the Burghley Horse Trials, near Stamfordmarker in Lincolnshire, now sponsored by another country sport stalwart, Land Rover. It currently sponsors the Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic (East Midlands International).

Pedigree sponsors the #18 of Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In the past they have sponsored drivers David Gilliland, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Elliott Sadler, and Ernie Irvan.

Centre for Pet Nutrition

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, formerly known as the Animal Studies Centre, also mentioned in TV advertisements for dog food, is based on Freeby Lane at Waltham-on-the-Woldsmarker near Melton Mowbray. There are 250 dogs, and 600 cats who get fed there every day. It is publicised as conducting the most advanced research on dog and cat food in Europe, if not the world. Around 200 researchers work for the company at Waltham and Melton. Work is also done with UK universities.


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