Edgard Cooper

Edgard & Cooper makes premium meals for pets using fresh ingredients and using 100% biodegradable materials in its packaging

General Mills has swooped for premium petfood challenger brand Edgard & Cooper, as the US consumer packaged goods giant continues to reshape its portfolio.

Established in 2016, Edgard & Cooper is one of the fastest-growing independent petfood companies in Europe, with estimated 2023 retail sales of more than €100m (£85.5m) across 13 markets.

General Mills said that with omnichannel distribution capabilities and a commitment to sustainability, the brand was “delivering high-quality petfood to dogs and cats across Europe while reducing its impact on the planet”.

Edgard & Cooper – founded in Belgium, where its headquarters remain, and with offices in London, Paris, Düsseldorf, Rotterdam, Madrid and Milan – will operate as a separate unit within General Mills led by its three founders, Koen Bostoen, Louis Chalabi and Jürgen Degrande.

The company’s financial results will be consolidated into General Mills’ international division.

Edgard & Cooper claimed to be the first European petfood brand with packaging made from 100% biodegradable materials across the full range of food and treats.

General Mills added the deal, for an undisclosed sum, further advanced its ‘Accelerate’ strategy to prioritise core markets and brands such as Old El Paso and Häagen-Dazs.

“Edgard & Cooper is at the intersection of our Accelerate strategy’s core markets and global platforms,” said Jon Nudi, General Mills group president of pet, international and North America Foodservice.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Edgard & Cooper team to the General Mills family, and we look forward to partnering together to advance their mission to revolutionise premium, natural petfood.”

Edgard & Cooper co-founder Koen Bostoen added: “We’re excited to join team General Mills and continue doing what Edgard & Cooper is passionate about: making better dog and cat food with real ingredients that pets love and pet owners feel good about.

“Combining our brand’s natural positioning and commercial capabilities with General Mills’ marketing and supply chain expertise, we’re ready to accelerate Edgard & Cooper’s growth.”

Edgard & Cooper secured a £17m investment in 2020 to boost European growth, with backers including The Craftory, who led the round, and DLF Venture. The Craftory, a global consumer venture capital find focused exclusively on “responsible“ fmcg businesses, also led a €20m series C round for the brand in 2023, with DLF following on.

Elio Leoni Sceti, co-founder of The Craftory, who also back the likes of Who Gives a Crap and Hippeas, said: “Edgard & Cooper’s journey is the perfect substantiation of The Craftory’s belief in the power of brands, cause-driven business culture and exceptional founders.

“Koen, Louis and Jurgen combine vision, energy and determination with a focus on excellent execution. They’ve been a perfect fit for The Craftory’s operating model – partnering and working closely with the brands we invest in – which has supported Edgard & Cooper’s move to profitability and the significant growth of its sales.”

General Mills will fund the acquisition with cash.

Raymond James & Associates acted as General Mills’ lead financial advisor in the transaction, while White & Case served as legal advisor. Morgan Stanley & Co International worked as exclusive financial advisor to Edgard & Cooper and Linklaters LLP gave legal advice.