Growing a better world for millions of pets – naturally
The human-animal bond is very special, and pets mean a lot to their owners. The Pet Heath & Nutrition area taps into this focusing on developing innovative microbial solutions together with customers in the pet food and pet supplements industries. With that, it is possible to improve the food and health of more than 100 million dogs and cats globally.
“Having a pet comes with a lot of responsibility,” states Lidiia. “We make a lot of choices for our pets – from the food they eat to the care they get and the way they live. Pets and people have more in common than you may think. They share the same household, they often share a similar lifestyle, similar microbiomes, similar diseases and similar needs. Most importantly, they share those special moments together and lots of pet parents are willing to do everything in their power to help their pets live healthy and happy lives, by feeding them premium high quality food and natural, science-based supplements.”
Veterinarian at heart – with bigger impact in the industry
Lidiia’s early interest in pets resulted in an education as a veterinarian. She later found out that it was not in the vet office she could make the biggest impact, but rather in the industry where she could use research and findings to improve health and welfare of dogs and cats worldwide.
“I am a veterinarian at heart, and although I haven’t practiced medicine in clinical setting for over a decade, I have made an oath. An oath to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. At Chr. Hansen, I find myself empowered by the cutting-edge microbiome science and the role good bacteria play. I can’t wait to inspire small animal veterinary professionals and the entire industry to start using good bacteria to do good for pets and for the planet.”
An entrepreneurial mindset
Starting up a new segment in many ways compares to managing a start-up company, involving a myriad of different tasks: “I have to wear lots of different hats. In a single day, I can be both a strategist, scientist, marketeer, innovator, designer, product manager, idea-generator, salesperson and interviewer – you name it. It is both hard and highly rewarding. The best part is that I get to work with many talented people and see the vision for the segment coming to life.”
To understand our customers’ needs, we first needed to understand the needs of pets and their pet parents.
Understanding customer needs and providing the right products
Chr. Hansen’s stronghold in good bacteria plays a crucial role in developing solutions for customers and improving health in a natural manner. In order to know the customers’ needs, and be able to provide them with top-class solutions, a close collaboration is necessary:
“To understand our customers’ needs, we first needed to understand the needs of pets and their pet parents. Not only did we do interviews with pet food companies and pet supplement producers, but we are also investigating pet parents’ needs and issues. Recently we completed a quantitative survey with more than 3000 pet parents in the USA, China and France. We learned a ton! For example, we now know that there is a direct correlation between people who take probiotics for themselves and those who give probiotics to their pets. We also know what pet parents prioritize when it comes to probiotic benefits: digestive and immune benefits, healthy ageing, healthy growth and development, etc. There is still much more to be explored, and we can learn a lot from our Human Health colleagues. I look forward to benefiting from their experiences in the human space.”
A creative and dynamic work environment with great colleagues
When Lidiia was looking for a new, challenging career opportunity, she was especially focusing her search on a dynamic company with a strong, shared purpose and focus on innovation and research. A company that treats failures as learning opportunities and where science is valued and respected. Luckily, she found this in Chr. Hansen – as well as excellent colleagues.
“One thing I can highlight from my first six months here is the teamwork across all functions. It is amazing what people can accomplish when they truly come together. My partnership with the Animal Health & Nutrition Innovation team has been really outstanding, and so has the partnership with both business support functions as well as the Human Health team. I often get copied on news, interesting links and ideas and I don’t even have to ask for it. I also very much appreciate how engaged the Animal Health & Nutrition leadership team is. And despite the Covid-19, I feel like I am part of the family and can bring my whole self to work, even if it sometimes includes my two kids screaming in the background of a virtual meeting!”
A bright and exciting future
When asked about the future for the pets area, Lidiia is fast to answer: “The future of the pets segment looks very bright and exciting. As a new segment, I wish for it to be an experimentation lab for new business models and approaches. We have little to lose and everything to gain. Our ambitions are high and even though we will experience mistakes and setbacks along the way, we are confident that we will get it right in the end – because ultimately pet’s lives and people’s happiness are at stake.”