The firm’s PHYSIOLick bucket range comprises minerals, vitamins, additives, plant extract and proteins, and at 30,000 tons of annual production in France, it dominates this particular feed category in that country. "France is a mature market in this segment but we still think there is more ground to gain," said InVivo NSA corporate marketing director, Gonzalo Rodriguez.
A licking bucket is a complementary delivery method to complete feed or premixes. It is said to be designed to allow each animal to feed itself according to its particular requirements, and works on the basis of a ruminants' natural need to lick.
Rodriguez told us the category has been experiencing strong growth in the past few years.
The firm now exports about 30% of its bucket production, based at Verton facility in France, to mainly European based cattle producers, with strong demand from the German, Belgian and Portuguese markets and Eastern European countries such as Czech Republic and Hungary. This month sees the French company hoping to gain traction with the feed bucket in the Middle East and African ruminant sectors.
But the group, keen to leverage the positive demographic trend and the fast growth of the middle class in Central and South America, is always on lookout for any unexploited gaps in the animal protein sector of those large markets. Last October saw it acquire Brazilian pet food and dairy nutrition group, Total Alimentos.
With the licking bucket category non-existent in South America, Rodriguez expect the segment to hit the ground running in that region. “In Brazil, milk production is expected to rise by 3% per year while the herd population will remain stable, so licking buckets can help producers meet productivity targets.”
InVivo is said to be weighing up possible acquisition targets in Latin America.
It already benefits from a key position in Mexico, where it dominates the livestock and equine feed market. It is also ranked third in terms of shrimp feed and pet food sector players in that country.
It has been building its Mexican presence in the past few years, buying up a key premix player, Vipresa, in 2013.
In July this year, the French group outlined its strategy for growth in Central America.
Executive vice-president of InVivo Mexico, Eric Nojac, told feednavigator then: “We intend to expand both organically and externally in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, and, in line with our preventative approach to animal health, we are trying to identify potential premix or vaccine producer acquisition targets in the region."