All pet owners know -- or should know -- that feeding chocolate to a pet is a definite "no." Of course, it is certainly possible for a company that specializes in chocolate to be in the pet food business. One such company is Mars Inc., owner of Nutro Natural Pet Food.
Mars Inc., established in 1911 and now based in McLean, Va., is most famous for its chocolate candy products such as Milky Way and Snickers. The company, however, produces many other products. In 1958, Mars broke into the pet food business with the creation of Whiskas cat food and, in 1965, Mars opened the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom. Nutro Natural Pet Food, founded in 1926, was acquired by Mars in 2007.
Nutro Natural Pet Food has its headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. According to the Nutro website, the company produces what it refers to as "natural" dry and wet pet food under four specific brand names: Natural Choice (for dogs and cats), Max (for dogs and cats), Ultra Food for Dogs and Greenies Treats. The company website states that all Nutro foods are manufactured in four United States facilities.
In May 2012, Mars and Nutro announced the launch of a cooperative venture to build a new, state-of-the-art research facility in Thompson's Station, Tenn. This facility, which is to be called the Regional Innovation Center, will be devoted to "creating future pet care innovations" and will serve as the future home of both Nutro and the Mars Petcare division. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014 and the facility will be situated on a 90-acre tract of land.
On its website, Mars Inc. states that its Petcare division, currently based in Brussels, Belgium, is responsible for a total of 42 different brands of pet food globally. Among these brands, in addition to Nutro and Whiskas, are Pedigree, Cesar, Sheba and Royal Canin. Mars also owns and operates API Fishcare and the Banfield Pet Hospital chain, as well as Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition.
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