Natural pet food manufacturer Forthglade has secured £6m backing from private equity house Piper as the brand aims to become a household name.

Established more than 40 years ago, Forthglade makes dog and cat food at a facility in Devon using its own recipes with added vitamins and minerals which contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

The business, run by joint MDs Gerard Lovell and Chris Brooking, employs 75 staff and has annual sales of £11m. Lovell previously built up and sold family-owned confectioner Jakemans, while Brooking had senior roles at Heinz and McVitie’s.

Piper, which targets businesses with a £5m to £50m turnover, is investing £6m to support the growth of the business. It is the sixth investment from the firm’s £107m, fifth fund. As part of the deal, food industry veteran Peter Farquhar, previously chairman of Dorset Cereals and Clipper Tea, joins as chairman.

“We have been interested in the pet food sector for some time, and approached Forthglade having seen how passionately customers and, most importantly, their pets responded to its products,” Libby Gibson of Piper said. “We believe there is a significant market opportunity to develop Forthglade into a household name and become the leading natural pet food brand for happy and healthy pets.”

Forthglade joint MD Gerard Lovell added: “Although we were approached by other potential investors, from the very first meeting Piper has demonstrated the value it will bring to the table and has already had a significant impact on the business.”

Forthglade’s philosophy is “if you’re not prepared to eat it yourself, don’t feed it to your pets.”