Few pet owners know Mars makes more pet products than it does chocolate. As well as owning multiple confectionery brands, the company owns well-known petfood brands Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba and Royal Canin. It also provides animal care services.
A new documentary on Channel 4 - Britain’s Giant Pet Food Factory (1 August, 9pm) - took a look inside Mars’ giant petfood factory at Melton Mowbray, where “changing the world for pets” is, it claims, the shared goal of the 250 staff who work there. The 104-acre facility is home to 204 cats, 148 dogs and around 800 fish, all of which help carry out research into pet nutrition.
The plant runs 24/7, producing around a million petfood pouches a day. There is a common misconception that petfood manufacturers put any old rubbish into their product, but the factory’s quality manager Joe Leveridge insisted this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Staff in the office are encouraged to regularly bring in their own pets. To ensure this doesn’t descend into mayhem, they have adopted something called “petiquette” - a series of rules that include keeping dogs on leads, placing a flag at the end of your desk that reads ‘my dog is with me today’, and ensuring your dog doesn’t pee on the carpet and/or bark incessantly. Break these rules and you are out (or, rather, your pet is).
This light-hearted documentary didn’t really teach viewers much, but it certainly made the Mars factory look like a fun place to work - especially if you love pets.