Cereal giant General Mills has acquired Blue Buffalo Pet Products for $8 billion, or $40 per share. It is not the first established food brand to push into the burgeoning animal wellness sector. Nestle now owns Purina, having shucked less profitable human food units, and candy-maker Mars recently acquired an animal hospital chain. The pet food sector has grown 33% over the last five years as people have become more willing to bring animal healthcare and prevention on a par with that of humans. Higher-priced specialty pet foods now account for more than half of the market. Blue Buffalo’s sales, for example increased 11% last year. By way of contrast, General Mills’ sales have been falling for the last three years. The company expects to finish flat this year and not see a turnaround until 2019. General Mills leadership considers pet food a good fit for the business, noting a lot of its food-processing technology will transfer easily.