A WELSH pet food company is bucking the trend of economic downturn and celebrating a clutch of national awards for its natural pet food as the business continues to grow, despite the challenges presented by the Covid19 pandemic. Burns Pet Nutrition, a family business based in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, has scooped four prestigious awards this summer, placing it amongst major corporate competitors.
In early July, the first ever Which? Magazine Consumers Association dog food brand survey saw Burns Pet Nutrition come out on top in the poll of 2,594 members.
The survey highlighted Which? members’ favourite pet food brands, ranked by customer response. Burns dog food impressed with an incredible 92% customer score, coming first out of 24 dog food brands and beating multinational and private equity owned brands to the top spot.
This consumer recognition has been followed up with Burns being named Best Natural Pet Food Brand 2020 – UK in the Lux Life Pet and Product Services awards this month (August, 2020) which recognises excellence for high-end, luxury brands, as well as being recognised by Your Dog magazine in its Readers Product Awards 2020, winning Best Dry Complete Food for its Burns Original range.
The Burns Pet Nutrition ethos is based on premium natural pet food with high quality ingredients. The company was founded in 1993 by veterinary surgeon John Burns, who started out the firm with just simple sacks of brown rice sold at his surgery in West Wales. His philosophy was always to create a commercially available pet food modelled on a natural homecooked diet to help alleviate many of the common ailments seen at his surgery.
Burns Pet Nutrition now has a turnover of around £24 million with over 100 employees – the majority of whom are employed in Carmarthenshire – and its natural pet food products are stocked across the UK and internationally. The firm remains a firmly Welsh, family business with John Burns at the helm, despite regular buy out approaches from major corporations.
In a fourth award, Burns was named as runner up in The Family Business of the Year Awards 2020, organised by Family Business United, the family business champions, which seeks to recognise and celebrate the contribution that family firms make to the UK economy. Voted for by the public, with over 14,000 votes cast, the awards showcase the vital role family businesses play in the UK economy and in communities.
The family theme at Burns is set to increase as son Ciaran joins the company as Environmental consultant, joining son Leon and daughter Amy who have been part of the Community team. Leon, who recently completed an MBA, is stepping up to work on Burns’ company business projects
There are also non-Burns family members working for the community-focussed company, where it is not unusual to find fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and cousins working alongside each other in the company’s different departments.
Burns’ place at the centre of the community is cemented by its own charity, The John Burns Foundation, which donates thousands of pounds to projects improving the lives of people and pets as well as its own community hub, farm shop, restaurant and café, Parc y Bocs in Kidwelly.
The ongoing Covid19 pandemic meant a temporary closure of the Parc y Bocs site, but the Burns Community team of 10 continued to provide services throughout the lockdown period including delivery services of food for the elderly.
Speaking about Burns’ recent recognition and successes, John Burns said: “We’re pleased to be recognised at this level for some of the core values that makes Burns what it is today; natural wholesome food that is the consumers’ top choice for their pets, made in Wales by a family-owned and community- run business.
“Of course, both the business and the community in Kidwelly has faced many challenges this year, alongside everyone else, in responding to this global pandemic. However I’m delighted that we have been able to continue to safely supply our customers with high quality pet food, continue donating to important community projects both in Wales and the UK and grow the business, thanks to the efforts of the whole Burns team.
“Awards like these are much-deserved recognition of the hard work we already know goes on. As we look to the autumn and beyond, I’m delighted to be welcoming Leon and Ciaran to the Burns team as we carry on developing the Burns vision with more exciting plans for the future.”