DRONGAN is set to see investment and new jobs as a pet foods plant sets up in town.

Investment comes from Wilsons Pet Foods, one of the UK’s longest-established producers of dry dog food, and is expanding with the acquisition of Dunbia’s meat processing plant in the town.

The company has been operating out of two separate units in Perthshire but rapid growth, fuelled partly by Covid and online sales, necessitated the move to larger premises.

The multi-million-pound facility at Drongan offers Wilsons a “plug-and-play’” operation, according to company managing director Craig Wallace.

Mr Wallace said: “The extensive chilled production areas, cold and ambient stores, plus packaging and storage sections are ideal for our ambitious future plans.

“The total site extends to almost three acres, and we can now operate with greater efficiency in a superbly maintained 25,000 sq.ft building. Our massive canteen alone is bigger than our entire operation at Perth.”

Wilsons’ move to the Drongan facility is a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the company which was rescued from administration just over three years ago by Mr Wallace.

Established in 1861, the company became synonymous with the production of muesli-based dog food, and at one stage dozens of lorries would leave depots in Dundee and Glasgow for deliveries throughout the UK.

By the 1970s however, dog owners were switching to wet food and various kibble options.

Wilsons failed to spot the trend, and a lack of marketing and investment in new products resulted in a forced sale to Glaxo SmithKline Beecham, and then to Armitage Pet Care.

The Wilson family re-acquired the business but were unable to prevent the slide into administration.

The new owners have been quick to introduce a higher quality of food which is now being demanded by Britain’s ever-growing number of dog owners.

Traditional kibble has been phased out and, in its place, comes a range of raw frozen and cold pressed food.

Raw frozen dog food has been a popular buy for several years now, but Wilsons have noticed a sizeable uptick in cold pressed which is manufactured at a much lower temperature to preserve nutritional value.

Three separate income streams have been established – retail, branded own label, and online – with the latter witnessing stellar month-on-month increases in excess of ten per cent. The cold pressed dog food will continue to be manufactured near Blairgowrie, and all production of raw frozen will switch to Drongan.

The company have been committed to improving the local economy, providing jobs for ten new starts so far.

“Despite being self-funded, we’ve made huge progress in the last 18 months, and the Drongan operation will allow us to further strengthen our position in a tough market,” continued Mr. Wallace.