Published: Friday, February 9, 2018
This year is an exciting one for us because in June we celebrate our 25th year of business, and our 25th year of happy and healthy pets.
It's often hard to believe it all started with John and a big ol' car of pet food.
In the interest of nostalgia, let's take a look at how far we've come since the fledgling days.
1993 - Lightbulb Moment
In 1993, Veterinary Surgeon John Burns had an idea which would go on to change the face of the pet food industry for the better. Healthy, natural food modelled on a home-cooked diet.
1993 – The Very First Bag
The first ever bag of Burns Real Food for Dogs came into production. The original stock level was a 2-tonne batch distributed into plain covered polythene sacks with a leaflet glued to the front- very sophisticated!
1993 – 1995 - Food for Thought
Early newspaper coverage demonstrates the uniqueness of healthy pet food at the time of business inception.
1997 – Burns Becomes First Chemical-Free UK Pet Food Manufacturer
1997 marked another milestone for Burns as they introduced the UK’s first line of chemical-free dog food. At the time, all dog foods manufactured in the UK contained anti-oxidising chemicals in order to stop the dried food going rancid.
After working around the clock for a natural alternative, John discovered that you could use Vitamin E as a way of preserving the food. Although this made the food slightly more expensive to make, the benefits to animals were priceless. From here on in, Burns made the switch to chemical-free pet food, setting the industry standard for others to follow.
2001 – Flying the Nest
Rapid business expansion meant it was time to wave goodbye to Avalon Court. Burns acquired new premises on Ferry Road which became the office and warehouse.
2001 - The Second Batch of Bags
These rather retro-looking bags came into production in the late 90s and were in circulation until 2010 when a new logo was introduced.
2007 – The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation is born
In 2007, John launched a charitable foundation, The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, to improve the lives of people and pets across the UK. Prior to this, John had already been giving out generous donations to those in need ad hoc but achieving charity status formalised things. From here on in, a large portion of company profit was reinvested into the charity and the local community.
2009 - Penlan Farm Wet Food Hits the Shops
2009 saw John’s ambition to develop a complete moist food - based on his original home-cooked recommendations - become a reality. The award-winning wet food was manufactured at his own Burry Port factory and created with a field-to-plate philosophy including free-range eggs and vegetables produced at Penlan Farm and other locally sourced human-grade ingredients.
The Present Day
Today, we are a thriving family business employing 100+ people across head office, the Scottish office, two pet shops, a factory, warehouse and farm shop.
The business has come a long way from the original recipe, and Burns now offer over a dozen lines of award-winning pet food for dogs, cats and rabbits- all developed by Veterinary Surgeon, John Burns.
From field to dog bowl, farm shop assistant to senior manager, Burns believe in an ethical and transparent approach across all areas of the business. The company is recognised as an accredited Living Wage employer and in 2015 became the Living Wage Champion for the Wales region.
Our in-house charity, The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation continues to flourish with 6 full-time employees committed to grassroots community projects, sponsorship, the Burns By Your Side reading-to-dogs programme and the Charity of the Year project.
The plan for the future is simply, more of the same.
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