WOODBRIDGE, NJ. — United Premium Foods (UPF) announced Sept. 27 plans to invest more than $1.8 million in premium pet food manufacturing capabilities. Capital investments include several industrial processing, packaging and freezing systems to help the company and its clients meet growing demand for premium dog and cat food in North America.

“We’re dedicated to helping companies in the premium human and pet food spaces succeed,” said Ken Mayer, chief executive officer of UPF. “When we allocate spending toward solutions, we’re not just buying exceptional equipment — we’re investing in the people behind the brands looking to help support their businesses and thrive in competitive markets. These systems will expand available services and capabilities to help our customers prosper.”

UPF will add an industrial microwave from Microwave Techniques, a cryogenic freezing system from Messer, a flexible packaging solution from Reiser — specifically the company’s Water Wheel Depositing Packaging System — a Vemag HP25E Stuffer system, a Fresh Meat Grinder by M&M Equipment Corp, and a high-capacity blender from AMFEC. In all, these investments will provide UPF with expanded production capabilities for a range of human and pet food products, including frozen patty formats and human-grade dog food.

North American pet owners spend $340 per pet annually, according to Euromonitor International. This reflects the continued humanization of pets, with recent research from Kerry finding 94% of pet owners consider their four-legged companions as members of the family. Additionally, 89% of pet owners surveyed by Kerry stated their pet’s health is as important as their own health, a sentiment fueling the rise of premium and fresh pet food options.

“We are committed to investing to meet the increasing demands of both our human and pet customers, while simultaneously improving the lives of our UPF family, who are what make us successful,” Mayer added.

Find more articles about the latest pet food processing technologies on our Equipment page.