Discover Burns in a nutshell
Burns has come a long way from its fledgling days, but we are still a family company at heart and will never sell out. It is our dream that one day every pet will consume a natural, healthy diet based on homecooked food, allowing the pet’s body to get on with what it does best.
Our focus remains on campaigning for positive change in the pet food industry, be it through our charity, nutritional education or award-winning products.
Our products are on the shelves at over 6,000 stockists and export pet food all over the world to countries as far and wide as Hong Kong and Portugal. Today we employ over 140 people across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. We also employ 8 members staff who work for our charity John Burns Foundation.
Read our timeline below to discover how it all started, our major milestones and where we are today.
In the same decade that brought us the Rubix Cube and New Order, Veterinary Surgeon John Burns was cooking up an idea that would go on to change the pet food industry for the better. Natural, healthy pet food modelled on a homecooked diet.
Following 10 years of hard work, determination and perseverance, the UK’s first natural pet food company was born. It started with John, West Wales and a car full of pet food. The original stock level was a 2-tonne batch distributed into plain polythene sacks with a leaflet glued to the front. Very sophisticated!
The editor of Dogs Today, Beverley Cuddy published an article on Burns titled Back to Basics which really got the phone lines ringing and enabled the business to go national.
Burns became the first UK business to bring chemical-free pet food to market. Prior to this, all pet food manufactured in the UK contained antioxidising chemical to stop the food going rancid. John worked around the clock to find a natural alternative, eventually discovering that you could use Vitamin E and rosemary oil to preserve food. Burns made the switch to chemical-free pet food, setting the industry standard for others to follow.
Owing to the success of the business, in 2007 John launched his own charity, The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation. Prior to this, Burns had already been dishing out generous donations but the charity status formalised John’s vision to improve the lives of people and pets across the UK.
Penlan Farm – a complete wet food with a field-to-plate philosophy was born. Manufactured at our Burry Port factory with ingredients sourced locally from farms within Wales, the range is modelled on a homecooked diet and uses human grade free range eggs, protein, brown rice and vegetables. The launch of Penlan marked a major milestone in our history and today it is one of our bestsellers.
We are recognised as an accredited Living Wage Employer for our commitment to paying high wages and become the first UK pet food business to pay the real Living Wage. Most staff earn in excess of this.
In 2018 we celebrated 25 years of trading, and 25 years of feeding healthy and happy pets. We also decided to donate 25% of our profits to charity. What is amazing is the fact that John is still at the helm of the business and comes to work every day.
Get in touch with the Burns Health and Nutrition Team for individually tailored advice on the right food type and amounts for your dog. At Burns we work to address pet health conditions brought about by unhealthy lifestyle and especially diet. Drawing on the link between health and nutrition, we developed dry pet food that offers the same benefits for your favourite furry friend as simple homecooked food.