(PRESS RELEASE) BENGALURU, INDIA — MARS Petcare, the world’s leading pet food company, announces the launch of a new app called ForPaws. The ForPaws app is a free mobile app that uses bespoke facial recognition technology to help a wide network of kind pet lovers (parents and pet rescues in your city) quickly identify, locate, and reunite lost pets with their families.
The app uses a recent photo of the pet to create a Smart ID that is unique to them. In the unfortunate instance that a pet goes missing, ForPaws can use the photo to highlight unique facial features and visual characteristics of the pet, helping people in the ForPaws network connect lost pets with their families. The technology is powered by an advanced machine learning algorithm that constantly improves accuracy rate with the addition of more photos to its database.
Every festive season, many pets tend to get frightened and run away due to the bursting of crackers and other loud noises associated with the festivities. With the help of ForPaws, pet owners on the network can rely on the app’s artificial intelligence-based image analysis to find their missing pet. Similarly, individuals who come across a lost pet can take a photo and find a match on the app if another user is looking for that pet.
The app is initially launching in Bangalore and will be providing this service first for dogs before expanding to more cities and including more pets like cats.
“With the increase in smartphone penetration & sharp drop in internet data costs, more & more services are leveraging smart tech to solve consumer pain points. With ForPaws we want to leverage facial recognition technology & a network of pet lovers to solve a serious problem of tracking missing pets & helping them find their way home, ” says Mohit Arora, global digital marketing lead, MARS Petcare
The pet food and pet services category is one of the fastest-growing in India. Dogs and cats are now considered members of the family, as confirmed by consumer trends within the pet owner category. A Euromonitor report in 2020 showcased a significant rise in the sale of pet products and forecasted a 68% increase in value growth by 2025. This can be attributed to the rapid growth in pet ownership in the last 18 months, especially during the lockdown period.
“We are happy to launch the ForPaws app that can reduce the instances of pet owners losing their pets permanently, through the use of technology and a widespread network of pet lovers. With the rise in the number of pet adoptions in the past few years, the pet care category has witnessed tremendous growth. In addition, there has been an attitudinal shift as pets are now increasingly being seen as members of the family. Mars Petcare is a leader in the pet food category with brands like Pedigree and Whiskas, and making a better world for pets is at the core of our organizational purpose. We hope people will use this app and help pet parents have the joy of recovering their lost pets,” says Ganesh Ramani, managing director, MARS Petcare
MARS Petcare has been leading the category development in the country through its various initiatives and activities, including the education of pet owners, veterinarians and other stakeholders about the right nutrition and wellness requirements of pets. Mars Petcare works closely with NGOs on adoption, stray feeding, vaccination and neutering programs as well as with school children to sensitize them towards pets and responsible pet parenting. Consequently, MARS Petcare is leveraging its role in the industry to support the use of technology and innovation in petcare, providing impetus to the growth of the category.