Minnesota-based pet food company Tuffy’s expands with acquisition of Chaska business

Tuffy’s Treat Co. continues to grow, announcing that it is acquiring a Chaska-based pet treat business.

Tuffy’s is already an investor in Finley’s Barkery.Terms of the deal were not disclosed

Finley’s Barkery’s mission to employ people with disabilities as in-store ambassadors began in classrooms in 2010 and has grown rapidly in recent years.

Finley co-founder Angie Gallus said: “We are deeply humbled that our original dream of helping people with disabilities will now be part of a company that shares our passion for pets and people. We couldn’t ask for a better choice.” in a statement.

Tuffy’s, part of Perham, Minnesota-based KLN Family Brands, has produced products for Finley’s.

“We felt there was an opportunity to help them scale,” KLN Family Brands CEO Charlie Nelson said in an interview. “They’re doing some great things and we have distribution, relationships and manufacturing.”

Gallus and her husband Kyle have joined KLN and will continue to build the Finley brand. The company’s product line and its mission will remain the same.

“If we can’t continue the mission, we’ll never be part of it,” Nelson said. “The more places we can sell, the more in-store ambassadors we can hire.”

U.S. sales of pet food and treats were $50 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association. The increase in the number of pets during the pandemic, and the “humanization” of pet food, has fueled the growth of premium brands such as Finley.

“The way we treat furry family members says it all,” Nelson said. “Almost every trend suggests it will be strong in the years ahead.”

Pet food, including the flagship NutriSource brand as well as private label manufacturing, accounts for 70% of KLN’s business. Sweets, including the fast-growing Willy’s Kangaroo licorice, make up another 30 percent.

KLN has about 900 employees, 700 of them in Pelham and the rest in Delano, Minnesota, where Tuffy opened a $65 million pet treat and canned pet food plant in 2020. At the time, Tuffy was producing 150,000 tons of dog food a year. Both Finley’s and Tuffy’s business models included selling directly to retailers like Chuck & Don’s.

Nielsen said he expects pet food and treats to grow steadily over the next decade.

“We will continue to invest and make that our focus going forward,” he said.

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