Dogs and cats… a French passion. In 2022, nearly 1 in 2 households have a pet: 14 million cats and 8 million dogs. If we add aquarium fish, hamsters, birds and NAC, for new pets, either snakes, lizards or tarantulas, this brings to 80 the number of millions of friends listed in France. So many beaks, snouts or mouths to feed. This subject of bectance arises with particular acuity for dog owners, i.e. 1 in 4 French households. Gone are the days when it was enough to recover a few bones from the butcher to sustain Rex or Sultan. This has a cost, salty: 350 euros per year on average and 800 euros to 1,000 euros for the most discerning palates.
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Today, this market weighs, in France, nearly 5 billion euros. The sector is dominated by agribusiness giants such as Mars (Royal Canin) or Nestlé (Purina). And most kibble sales are made in supermarkets, pet stores or at the veterinarian. To stand out, Lapsa (acronym for Laboratory for Animal Health), a start-up created in 2018 by Pierre Vasseur, a 61-year-old adventurer-entrepreneur, plays the premium card and sells its products only in pharmacies.
Already more than 15 million bowls delivered
Present in 3,000 pharmacies out of the 21,000 listed in France through electronic terminals, Lapsa relies on proximity and high-tech. “Customers can order via this terminal or on our website,” explains Pierre Vasseur. In the pharmacy, the customer benefits from the advice of health professionals referenced as veterinary pharmacists. “He finds out, makes his choice and, a few hours later, his croquettes are waiting for him at the pharmacy,” he continues.
Lapsa, which has its kibbles made in the North and Vendée, is resolutely playing the health card by entrusting the development of its products to dietitian veterinarians. The start-up has already delivered more than 15 million bowls. Leader in this…pharmaceutical niche, Lapsa wants to expand its range to care, a booming market (+10% per year), and plans to launch into mutual insurance for pets. “In France, only 1 pet out of 12 benefi ciates from mutual insurance, compared to 70% in Scandinavia,” relates Pierre Vasseur. The annual maintenance of a four-legged friend (vaccines, care, etc.) costs more than 1,000 euros per year. And the big health problems hurt the wallet: more than 1,000 euros for thoracic surgery on a dog; 400 euros for stone treatment with infusion and catheterization for a cat.
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