Ukrainian military feasts on meals made by a cat food dealer

Ukrainian military feasts on meals made by a cat food dealer

Rick Schindler

Two entrepreneurs who started a pet food business in late 2021 have made a gear shift this year. Now the Kaniville company supplies Ukrainian troops and helps local supermarkets to stock their shelves.

Taras Lysenko worked for several years to start producing dog and cat food in metal cans by October 2021 near Kanev in Cherkasy Oblast in central Ukraine. In February of this year, the Russian war of aggression began.

Supply suddenly exceeded demand.

“In the first week after the war started, we were all shocked by what happened. I started calling clients I knew personally,” Lysenko said in a Pravda report. “In two weeks we have not received a single order and not even an answer to the question when new deliveries are possible. Even in peaceful Transcarpathia.”

Nearly 100 employees worked for the company, which meant payslips were still expected. They worked at the factory with odd jobs, until one day a partner of Lysenko came up with an idea.

“In early March, my partner Ihor, who lives in Cherkassy, ​​went to the Khmilna factory and saw free chicken being distributed to people from a truck just off the highway. You had no opportunity to sell the goods, you also stopped operating the usual supply channels,” Lysenko said.

Lysenko and his partners devised a new plan to work with local poultry factories to purchase chickens at a reduced price. They developed a recipe, tested the product and soon had several thousand cans ready to ship.

They developed food suitable for humans on the same machines they use to make pet food.

“On the equipment we used to make animal feed, you can make canned food. We had almost everything except recipes,” Lysenko said, noting that since they still produce dog and cat food, the equipment is “washed in a special way.” “In one store, on one device, it is possible to make canned food for people and animals according to the norms, but you have to spread production over time. The devices are washed in a special way.”

Lysenko said Kaniville receives raw materials and stores them in freezers. From there, workers grind the meat and feed it into a pipeline that feeds it into cans. After the production of human food started, the requests started coming in.

“We developed our trademark Kaniville and created a simple packaging design. Later it turned out to be very similar to Polish pate. Poles wrote that we Ukrainians, of course, love them very much, but why is it so similar? That’s why us changed the label,” Lysenko said.

The first flavors of human food were chicken and foie gras. The war intensified in March and April, and obtaining raw materials became a problem. At this point, Kaniville initiated a progressive marketing campaign.

“In March-April, we were saved by close communication with the poultry farm,” Lysenko said. “From May, interruptions began: sometimes beef disappeared and its price rose, then pork. In October we had a large order for chicken stew, but poultry farm partners did not confirm the delivery. We looked for chicken meat all over the country.”

Kaniville started finding more chicken and they also started working with meat vendors. Including the company OPOS, which supplies beef for McDonald’s.

The company produces around 2 million cans of human food per month – in addition to the thousands of cans of pet food.

Of those 2 million cans of human food, about 45 percent make their way onto grocery store shelves, 35 percent are bought by humanitarian and voluntary organizations for free distribution to those in need, and the rest goes to the needs of the Ukrainian army.

Kaniville has large generators to keep its facility operational in the face of the continuing threat of Russian missiles and rolling blackouts of the severe winter ahead.

“The generator enables continuous production of porridge and stews. For the production of pies, a greater power of the generator is required,” said Lysenko. Ukrainian military feasts on meals made by a cat food dealer

Ukrainian military feasts on meals made by a cat food dealer

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