who we are
Forthglade was founded by Basil Palmer & Doug Wilkins, who at the time made a living travelling around Devon visiting abattoirs and buying meat to clean, freeze and sell into the pharmaceutical industry.
Here's an old arial photograph of our factory site back then - it's changed quite a bit over the years!
Basil welcomed a new addition to his family – a gorgeous brown Doberman, and having found that there were few good quality dog foods available, he began buying meat on his trips to the abattoir to freeze for his dog.
During a chance encounter with a broken-down delivery lorry outside the factory in Winkleigh (on its way to deliver ingredients destined for the pet food industry) Basil & Doug sold their first 2 tonnes of tripe, and this is where the story of Forthglade (as we know it today) begins.
Forthglade launches its first product specifically aimed at pet owners – a 447g (14oz) frozen block of raw tripe which was sold through pet shops, kennels & breeders. Over the next 10 years a number of additional meats were added to the range, but it remained 100% frozen, raw food for pets.
In a changing UK pet food market, Forthglade launched ‘Menu’ - a complementary wet food range for dogs & cats. Each recipe included 90% meat, minerals & just a little water to gently steam it. Although it’s changed slightly over the years, the range still exists today. You can check out our ‘Just’ range here .
Later that year Forthglade’s first ever complete range was launched – called ‘Lifestage Complete’ it was aimed at both cats & dogs, and included brown rice, vegetables & 75% meat. This mix of good quality ingredients is still used today in our complete with brown rice range, and you can check it out here .
Our very first wet food recipes were served in a tray, something that we’ve continually innovated and many other pet food manufacturers have replicated in recent years.
The business was bought by a handful of people including current joint managing directors Chris, who’d joined the Forthglade team as operations manager a year earlier and Gez who joined the team from a background in confectionery manufacturing.
Forthglade rebranded to a new look & feel and at the same time made all existing wet food recipes dog specific – so for now, Forthglade didn’t make recipes for cats. The range however remained the same with Frozen, complementary & complete with brown rice making up the majority of the business.
Forthglade launched their first ever range aimed specifically for cats, unlike previous recipes which were aimed at both cats & dogs.
Forthglade launched a new range of grain free complete meals for dogs to the existing range.
After more than 30 years Forthglade said goodbye to its raw frozen food range, and decided to focus on expanding the wet food range, innovating new products & increasing product availability for customers.
Having recognised the potential, a private equity business joined forces with Forthglade and a plan for growth and investment was made. There were a couple of newcomers to the team too. Patrick joined as commercial director to oversee all sales & marketing activity and Gerald joined as Finance Director.
In late 2015 following more than 40 years of selling through distributers alone, Forthglade began selling their products directly to customers for the first time through their website.
Forthglade rebranded again with the objective of making the ranges easier to understand and the brand more identifiable – with this Forthglade had a whole new look and the ranges were renamed to those we know and love today.
2018 sees a year of exciting changes for the Forthglade team, including the launch of a new & improved website for customers along with lots more new product launches.
We’ve been working on a new factory site for some time now, and are very excited to be moving to our brand new, purpose-built factory facility on the edge of Dartmoor in summer 2018 – the first time in Forthglade history that we’ve had a site specifically designed for us. Our current site is on an old disused air force runway and is made up by a series of small buildings across the site, and although it’s done us well so far, we’ll be glad to get everything under one roof!
Chris & Gez
Our managing directors
winkleigh factory team
Our factory team lovingly make each and every one of our wet food recipes
winkleigh office team
Our Winkleigh factory-based office team take care of sales, finance, admin & marketing
Our shows & event team
You'll find Colin & the team at our stand throughout the summer show season - do stop by and say hello!
four-legged taste testers
Our team of dedicated four-legged taste testers are always on hand to try out our new recipes