Keeping a pet in Indonesia can be challenging, especially trying to provide the right nutrition.
Marco Hutterer is a pet lover who’s noticed this challenge and thought of a solution by providing Happy Cat and Happy Dog products through his company, Happy Pet Indonesia. As the President Director, Hutterer shares with Indonesia Expat the specialities of these German-based products and much more for fellow pet lovers!
Hi, Marco! We’d like to know more about you. Please introduce yourself.
Hi there, I am Marco Hutterer, a German national, originally from Weilheim, a beautiful little town just south of Munich, in Bavaria. I’ve been in Jakarta since October 2011 but I got to know the country way earlier, during my high school time, when I came to Jakarta to spend a year at “German International School” in BSD for a school year abroad. During that time, my uncle lived and worked in Indonesia, so it was the natural choice for me to escape from my – back then – boring countryside hometown. Since I’m super passionate about travelling anyway, just like any aviation geek, I was up for an adventure.
You’re currently residing in Jakarta. Share with us your thoughts on expat life in the capital and the reason behind your move.
After my school year in Jakarta in 2005, I went home, finished university, and wanted to come back ASAP. Jakarta fascinated me from day one. You either love it or hate it – I still love it today. What a city it is: 30 million people, but all of them have a smile on their faces for you and enjoy their lives as much as possible. Together with the vibrancy of the city, it has an addictive feel for those that enjoy a dynamic lifestyle.
In 2011, I tried hard to get back and luckily had the chance to get a job at DB Schenker’s Jakarta office, a leading German logistics company. I sensed already back then that Indonesia was the place for young and ambitious people since there were so many opportunities. I got started and built my network as well as my Bahasa skills and simply enjoyed Indonesia while I travelled as much as possible on weekends.
Your company, PT Happy Pet Indonesia, is the main and exclusive distributor for Germany’s top premium brands, Happy Dog and Happy Cat. What can pet lovers expect from these German-based brands?
During my logistics career, I came across pet food for the first time and saw that in this industry, there was a huge lack of products and options for pet owners. As an entrepreneur, you would directly say, “what a great business opportunity”. There were only those few huge global brands that every kid knows, but nothing else, nothing special. Being a cat lover myself, I remembered how picky my family’s cat back in Germany was and wondered what cat and dog owners in Indonesia might experience with this very limited supply, especially in the premium nutrition segment.
It was during that time that an ex-colleague of mine joined Happy Dog and Happy Cat in Germany. It didn’t take long until he called me and asked if there is a chance to bring the products to Indonesia. “Hell yeah! Let’s do it” was my exact reaction and I guess that was the birth of PT Happy Pet Indonesia, as well as my farewell to the standard corporate career.
What can pet lovers expect from us nowadays? A huge portfolio of great dog and cat foods, all made in Germany, close to my hometown, by a dedicated and family-owned producer that sources as many raw materials and ingredients as possible locally from farmers in Germany. Needless to say, quality is our main focus and I like to sometimes snack on a warm kibble or two when I am at the factory in Germany.
Complete this sentence: Your pets consuming Happy Dog and Happy Cat will be…
Your pets consuming Happy Dog and Happy Cat will be not only super happy but most importantly healthy because they get supplied with all essential nutrients and minerals that they need, day in and day out.
Pets often consume the same packaged food over a long period. They don’t have the variety of ingredients like us humans, so make sure you get the right food and a brand that offers options of different protein sources, so you can sometimes switch to alternative recipes, to make the “culinary experience” for your pet more amazing. Would you want to eat chicken every day?
Describe the specialities of Happy Dog and Happy Cat products that pet lovers won’t find in any other brands available in Indonesia.
Many brands sell products based on one single protein source, mainly this is chicken. We are here to change this, because, from a nutrition perspective, it is ridiculous to consume the same food with the same nutrients every day. Cats and dogs need variety in food as well for a balanced and healthy life.
Our product portfolio comes with a huge range of different protein sources, such as salmon, lamb, trout, or beef for cats. For dogs, we have even more exotic recipes such as an ostrich and potato meal for sensitive dogs with allergies (Happy Dog Africa). We also just launched our first vegetarian dog food recipe with plant-based proteins, called Happy Dog India. This product innovation recently got awarded in Germany as “product of the year 2021/2022” in the dog food category. You see, for every little gourmet, there is something in our portfolio.
Why are happiness, family, and quality made in Germany applied as the core values?
When our brand was established more than 50 years ago in Germany, it was the goal to truly convert pets into family members. This was, back then, not often the case. Now in 2022, even in countries like Indonesia, pets do play a significant role and are seen more and more like family members. Pets are an emotional topic, almost like babies, for many households. For your beloved pets, as much as for your own baby, you would want to make sure that they get nothing but the best. You need a brand that you can trust for baby milk, equally you need a brand that you can trust for your dog or cat food. That’s why our quality claim “made with love in Germany” is so important.
Run through the product purchasing process for our readers.
Being away 12,000km from our factory in Germany is not always easy. Closure of the Suez Channel, supply chain disruptions, and other external impacts do make it often difficult to supply the products on time to Indonesia. However, since it is our commitment to our customers to have the food ready whenever they need it, we have significantly ramped up our warehousing capacities in the last two years with facilities in Jakarta and Surabaya. In total, we will be able to store up to 5,500 pallets by the end of 2022.
As a German yourself, why is it important for you to introduce these brands to the Indonesian market? Are you a pet lover too?
Happy Dog and Happy Cat is produced around 60km away from my hometown and therefore for me, it is a highly emotional product. I’m proud to sell great quality products from back home here, on the other side of the planet. Therefore, when I was offered the opportunity in 2014 to start this business and to build up the brands in Indonesia, I immediately was in for it.
Unfortunately, since I moved to Jakarta, I have no pets anymore, since I was travelling a lot and there are so many restrictive apartment operators that don’t allow pets at all. I’m working more and more from Bali nowadays, so this may open the door to adopting a nice Bali dog, once my wife and I have fully settled there. By the way, making Jakarta and Indonesia overall a better place to live for pets is one of our local goals, since I have seen with my own eyes how challenging it can be to keep a pet here.
Marco, what’s next for the company?
We are currently full-speed expanding our team to have a nationwide sales force. Our business is mainly B2B, so we supply our brands to pet shops and vet clinics but also e-commerce is becoming increasingly important. In Indonesia, the pet adoption rate has sky-rocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, so getting our products into every corner of the country, to every pet owner, is our current focus.
Besides this, we are now working increasingly together with many Indonesian veterinarians. Since 2018, we have had a dedicated “veterinary diet” product line, that only veterinarians, or petshop collaborating with veterinarians, can sell. With this product line, we aim to really help those animals that are very sick and therefore have special needs, such as food for cats with urinary issues or for dogs with liver problems.
We have it all and the products work extremely well. Our team in Germany has done a great job in formulating those products. With this product line, we enable veterinarians in Indonesia to better help sick pets to recover from their respective diseases or even prevent them.
How can our readers get in touch with you and Happy Pet Indonesia?
Those readers that would like to know more can get in touch with me directly via email: [email protected]
We do also have a veterinarian team in our office in Jakarta as well as back in Germany, that is always happy to support you if you have questions related to your cats’ or dogs’ health, so feel free to drop me an email and I will connect you with our experts, to answer your questions.