Burns Pets Nutrition

Simple foods that allow the body to function naturally

Monday 6 June 2016, by jordiaguilera

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A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

The idea of the company arises in 1993, in the moment that Mr Burns, a veterinary surgeon having to treat constantly cats and dogs with the same problems, starts looking for their common source of illness and finds out that poor quality diet might be the problem. Trying to investigate it, he started giving his own recipes to pet owners to make home cooked, natural and without any pharmacologically active supplements food.

Results were noticeable, but not everyone had enough time to cook the food, so he saw a business opportunity. They started producing food for dogs, cats and rabbits created only with whole grains and high quality animal proteins.

All their food is produced in an ecological farm were only organic techniques are used and there is an special emphasis in conservation, with large portions of the land given to the creation of wildlife habitats.

Hens are left in a wide free space, always kept in small groups so they don’t suffer from stress and feed only with organic vegetables from the same farm, so the quality and flavour of the egs is unbeatable.

Finally, the farms employ workers from the local community, were they also sell their extra production of eggs and vegetables and the business is still a family owned one, with no interests from third parts but to give animals just and only what they need, real food.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

The main ethical challenge that Burns Pet Nutrition is to keep doing what they do, just the way they do it. Because we all know that in the actual market and system, it is very difficult for ethical companies to keep doing the same because margins are minor.

Another ethical challenge is to aware people of their pets’ alimentation, not only by selling their products, but with all their activities, such as publications in the social media, all the type of information they have available on their website (Pet Expert Videos, Nutrition Advice, Nutrition Helpline, etc) and by offering their Burns Charity of the Year award.

This award is given to other companies, associations and charities that focus on the welfare of pets, support and/or train assistance or therapy pets or that educate the public about pets. This award implies also “a bespoke annual package of financial assistance, joint fundraising and promotional activity”. We think this award is also very challenging for the company from an ethical perspective, because this also empowers new companies to do things in a better way, and associations to be able to keep protecting animals’ interests, and also to grow a more ethical environment around the animals.

Finally, another huge ethical challenge we think it comes when talking about suppliers. Their main supplier is their own farm, where they grow everything they need, except the Organic Brown Rice, which they buy to an ethical supplier from Italy. So, we think that keeping their farm, or even make it grow, so that everything they produce there goes to their products, will be a big challenge for them.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

We believe that being a veterinary surgeon is something very vocational, so you don’t become one if you don’t really love animals. And in our experience, when you learn something that goes wrong and it is in your hand the possibility to change it, you do it. So this is why we believe in Mr Burns. Also, there are many things that prove our trust. For example, all the information they give and the transparency they have in all their processes and different data.

They have their own farm to produce the food for the animals, they offer charity awards, they provide help and guidelines for everyone… And they are recognized as one of the most ethical companies in the UK.

But, the most important for us, is everything that we have found in their website, they show a high transparency on all their activities and processes, and transparency always leads to trust from our point of view.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

Obviously, the first challenge they will have to address concerns the financial aspect of the company. Throughout the course we learned how, even if it’s still possible to obtain profit as an ethical and CSR company, it is no secret that this way of operating leads to minor profit compared to those who opt for cheaper and likely unethical ways of business. In order to survive, a company must grow exponentially year after year to keep their share of the market against potential competitors. Recent data shows how Burns Pet Nutrition observed an increase in their pre-tax profits from 2014 (1.4m pounds) to 2015 (2.7m pounds), almost doubling their financial results. More gains every year means more resources to keep implementing clean and environmentally-healthy practices in their production process. That way, they will prevent themselves from giving in and stop using ethical processes due to a lack of funds.

The market of pet foods in the UK is increasingly growing in terms of revenues (up to 2.8 bn pounds), however in terms of volume the market recently observed a down of a 2%, remaining in 1.400.000 tonnes. This tells us that the prices are likely to decrease, for the demand of this product may lower in the future. This will be a great opportunity for mass producers to penetrate the market with lower prices offering similar or greater volumes. This is undoubtedly a challenge for ethical companies (which give priority to quality over quantity, and which can’t produce volumes as large as major companies due to their special production process) will have to face to keep up with the sector. Fortunately for them, research and studies proved how people owning pets of any kind tend to care more about environment and ethics in a higher percentage than people who don’t (maybe due to their direct contact with a product of nature, an animal) so they might remain faithful to the brand and their code of ethics all the way.

Another challenge is the self-control of their staff and a permanent education on the company’s values and practices. The living soul of a company and its model is always reflected and transmitted by and through its employees. The company must provide the employees with examples and alternatives on how to resolve common ethical dilemmas and decision-making. With a growing staff every year (10 new staff members in 2015) they have to make sure that all newcomers understand what it is expected from them and the new company they now belong to.




Location: Kidwelly (Wales)

Sector: Accommodation and food service activities

Official website: http://burnspet.co.uk/

Key figures:

Employees: 97
Net Worth: £7.88m
Cash in Bank: £3.48m
Current Liabilities: £-3.9m
Turnover: £24.47m
Total Assets: £13.08m

Nbr. visits: 632