Ikdeep Singh, our new president of Mars Petcare in North America, came on board in August 2020. Singh oversees some of the biggest pet brands in the U.S.— Pedigree®, Sheba® and Iams™. We recently caught up with him on everything from how technology is benefiting pets to bringing a culinary experience to your favorite furry friend!
You came to Mars from the consumer package goods (CPG) world. How did you know Mars Petcare was the right place for you?
I’ve always been drawn to companies that have a driving purpose to make a positive difference in the lives of the people and communities it serves. Improving pet care is inspiring and meaningful to me, and our Mars Petcare Purpose: A Better World for Pets™, aligns perfectly with that focus. Another big draw for me was the Associates at Mars Petcare — to be able to work with these dedicated people who have built these amazing brands is an honor! I plan to prioritize the development of those on the Mars Petcare team and welcome different voices and opinions to the table.
How do you translate your CPG experience to pet care?
I’ve spent a lot of time working in both beauty and baby, which are both highly emotional categories; pet care is an emotion-driven category too. By that I mean the consumers care a lot about what they buy, the experience they have with the products, and how the brand makes them feel. Today’s pet parents really care about providing the very best nutrition for their pets, and they want that same high-quality experience with the brands they choose.
Many of the brands you oversee, like Iams™, Pedigree® and Cesar®, have been around for a long time. How do you stay relevant in today’s pet care market?
By focusing on innovation! Pet parents want to keep their pets healthy through excellent nutrition. One way we’re helping them do that is by creating culinary experiences for pets. For example, we recently launched Cesar® Wholesome Bowls™, a new version of a brand that has been around since 1930. The Wholesome Bowls™ contain ingredients like sweet potato and green beans — it actually looks like human food!
Does technology have a role to play in improving the lives of our pets?
Absolutely. We get a lot of insight about pet health from our veterinary side of the business, which in turn impacts product development. The pandemic made it hard for people to get to shelters to adopt pets, so we created Pedigree® Dogs on Zoom so people could meet shelter dogs online!
How has the pandemic affected pet ownership?
Pets provided us companionship, reduced stress and anxiety, and brought us joy during the pandemic. Pet parents have been spending more time than ever before with their pets, and as a result we’ve seen a shift in buying habits. People also want to offer their pets more variety, and they are trying out different things — like feeding wet food to their pets.
Dog person or cat person?
Both! I love all animals, but I grew up with dogs, and my family is planning to adopt our first dog soon. I’m excited for my daughter to experience having pets for the first time, and for her to see first-hand how profoundly pets enrich our lives!