Swedish home-delivery pet food “Husse” has recently expanded its operations in Asia. Entering the Thai market this year, it will bring high quality pet food to pet lovers’ doors.
For centuries, pets have been part of the home environment in many families. Relationships between humans and their pets have developed, and increasing number of pet-owners today care for their pets as they would care for their family members.
“I grew up having pets in our family both horses and dogs. We like pets. We call it a family companion,” says Tom Eliasson, CEO of Husse, a home-delivery pet food supplier based in Sweden.
Established in 1987 by Staffan Hedlund, Husse offers high quality pet food and pet supplements with a home delivery service. The Swedish entrepreneur, Tom Eliasson, saw the business opportunity and decided to take over Husse in 1991.
“The old tradition of feeding pets with your leftovers has changed as many pet owners nowadays choose quality and nutritious food for their pets,” says Tom.
Before taking over Husse, Tom ran a successful company in real estate and finance. However, his company suffered terribly during the economic crisis in 1990 and was eventually closed down afterwards. From empty hands, Tom has found himself a new business venture that he has high hopes for.
Husse focuses on offering super premium pet food to people who care about their pets but have limited time to go out for shopping.
“Most of our customers are young married couples that both partners are working. The idea is to bring high quality pet food to their doors. We don’t sell our products at any stores. We don’t charge for delivery cost but we do require a minimum order,” says Tom.
“Also, we offer high standard training in current pet nutrition to everyone in our network so that we can give advice and answer any questions that our customers might have,” he adds.
The company offers a wide range of pet food including dry food and wet food for dogs and cats of all ages. Aiming to tap into the high-end markets, Husse’s pet food and supplements also include gourmet cat food for pampered cats, fur ball preventative and several types of cat litter and cat litter trays. Additionally, the company supplies reduced fat pet food for overweight dogs and cats, and specially developed products for cats and dogs with medical conditions.
The company grew fast and Tom decided to apply a franchise concept to Husse. The company expanded its network of franchisees in Sweden and later recruited Master franchisees in Denmark, Norway and Finland. The brand quickly became well-known in Scandinavia.
In 1996 Husse participated in Europe’s largest trade fair in Paris. The brand was well received and rapidly expanded in Europe. Today, Husse is available in over 40 countries across four continents. The company’s catalogue has gone from a single page to a 40-page brochure available in 20 different languages. The company’s website is available in 28 languages, including Thai. Tom says that very soon, it will also be available in Mandarin.
Currently based in Stockholm, the company’s operation is international as its staff comes from many different parts of the world such as Romania, Russia, Poland, Slovenia, and China. The Husse’s family also includes Tom’s sons – Petter and Tim Eliasson.
“We aim for 26 per cent growth rate per year. I’m an entrepreneur and I like to see the company grow bigger and bigger,” says Tom.
Expansion in Asia
While the European economy is still sore, Tom sees a brighter future in the Asian markets.
“We’ve covered most countries in Europe. Now we would like to focus on Asia. The economy here is growing faster than in Europe,” says Tom.
Husse has recently expanded its network in Thailand, Singapore and China. For Thailand, the franchisee is Khun Vinai Phongsathorn, the former Member of Board of Governors at Pacific City Club Ltd and a well-known businessman in Thailand.
Among the challenges that he faced when entering the Thai market is the timely process in getting an import permit from Port Authority of Thailand, where it took the company 14 months to get it.
“EU operates like one country. Thailand is very strict when it comes to import rules. But I think it’s good that every company has to go through this procedure,” Tom says with a positive outlook.
Swedish pet food for Thai pets?
When asked if he thinks Thai pets would like Swedish pet food, Tom says that he had noticed the differences in consumption behaviors. For instance, cats in Europe like to eat meat while cats in Asia prefer to eat fish.
“We also have many fish flavours, and we plan to send more of the products that suit Asian tastes here,” says Tom.
He also says that product packages are smaller in Asia and people seem to buy smaller amounts for more often. Accordingly, the company is prepared to adapt the sizes of its packages to suit the local needs.
Though there are differences in consumption behaviors, Tom believes that people are the same in a way that they are looking for good quality products at good prices.
“We don’t have the costs for shelving our products in supermarket, and we don’t do TV commercial ads here so prices of our high quality products will be competitive,” says Tom.
“We believe in the Thai market. Thai people care a lot for their pets. I believe our business concept will work here,” he adds.
The company aims to reach both Thai and foreign pet owners in the main cities of Thailand. Husse’s full operations in Thailand will kick off in September this year. For any pet lovers who are interested, call 02 632 7551-2 or visit www.thai.husse.com/home/ or www.husse.co.uk for English language.