KIKA GROUP’s philosophy: we do not offer pet food, we offer solutions


Anyone who has a pet knows KIKA with its yellow brand lettering, which some call a pet heaven. KIKA GROUP’s CEO Tauras Plungė is quite frank: being a leader in the pet and pet care business goes hand in hand with challenges. 

Founded by Janita and Tauras Plungė 27 years ago, the Group now consists of a chain of the leading pet product shops in Lithuania and Estonia, specialized pet feed factory AKVATERA LT, UAB, and kennel called Tauro Kennel. When asked about the driving force behind the business, Mr Plungė speaks about more than mere love of pets.
‘I have been very keen on pets since I was little. To me, to love them first of all means to care about them closely. And care is not just bringing security, it is also about choosing complete feed and the right care products. 
As we operate our own kennel, we know very well the amount of questions and concerns that can pop up as you look after your pets every day. 
One case in point is tera stains on the fur, an issue that is highly relevant to dogs with white coat. As the pet sheds tears, they leave quite visible stains that really stand out on the white fur. That is why we have designed Nature’s Protection Superior Care White Dogs, a special feed for white dogs to help remove the brown tear stains. To address this issue, we spare no time, looking for ideas both in Lithuania and in the international space,’ says Mr Plungė speaking about the secret behind his success.
A sign of problem solved
The launch of AKVATERA, an end-of-the-range feed factory in Nordic Europe that has opened a door for KIKA GROUP to the feed production industry, now sounds like a thoroughly pre-mediated strategic decision. But that is only at the first glance, because Mr Plungė says AKVATERA is an example of a blitz project.
‘The time-span between the building equipment rolling onto the site and the first pellet exiting the production line at the new pet food factory was 8 months and 21 days. Before that, we would not produe our own products, we only operated a packing line that we used to repack economy-line products of our supplier into Lithuanian packaging. Once packed, the products would be shipped to major retail chains. One day, we received a warning that the product would be discontinued as of the next month. We were unable to find a new supplier of high-quality products within a short period of time, which had led to a decision to build our own pet food factory,’ says the entrepreneur. Turning out economy-class feed had been AKVATERA’s main line of business but for a while, as the factory soon set its sights on making premium products. This goal was achieved first with the launch of the Araton premium feed line. Afterwards, the milestone of seven years (of professionalism!) in manufacture was crowned by the Nature’s Protection super premium products. This way to professionalism took a toll on finance just as it required exceptional patience.
‘Our greatest challenge was feed for white dogs. We had spent three months developing formulas, then month after month testing the feed. Once we obtained the right results, we sat down with our technologists and spent another three years improving the feed. Today, after the feed has found its market, I stand firm that it was all worth it,’ Mr Plungė is delighted with the result.
The entrepreneur points out that it is products like this that make KIKA GROUP famous for supplying ‘not dog food with chicken or pork, grain or grain free,’ but a solution to a problem.
A gift of innovation for future generations
Mr Plungė has new plans for AKVATERA as well. The company currently is in a process of modernisation: ‘We first of all rushed to increase its output levels as we receive an increasing amount of orders from customers in other continents. The second reason behind the modernisation was our desire to have state-of-the-art and most effective equipment. It will allow us to cut our energy consumption by more than a third and this will be our contribution to environmental protection.’
The entrepreneur’s love of nature and innovation has provided an impetus for building a solar power factory as well. ‘A solar power factory is a shining example how every one of us consumers of industrial energy could demonstrate social responsibility in our acts and use renewable energy resources. Innovation must benefit man and nature. We all should not just make and consume: we also have to pay attention to our environment and care about it,’ believes Mr Plungė.
The entrepreneur says that for him, environmentally-friendly solutions first of all connect with his family, and he invites everyone to think about the future.
‘We all make decisions of what we will do to achieve our goals, which values we will follow. In doing so, I try to think about the generations of my children, grandchildren, grand-grandchildren. What kind of world will they see if we take care of it? And if we do not? Last year, I was shaken to the core by one story. Our partner, a seasoned seafarer, was telling me of diving next to a beautiful coral reef in the Caribbean many years ago. Later, as he showed pictures from the trip to his children, he promised he would take them to see this wonder of nature. Finally, the day came when he and his family arrived at the place and took a dive. Alas, what they saw was a horrible sight, much like that of a burned-down forest: as the ocean temperature had risen by 1.5 degrees, the fabulous corals turned into dead, blackened sticks. I saw the pictures and believe me, this is something you cannot forget,’ KIKA GROUP’s CEO shared his personal experience.



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