Pet Food - US - May 2015
“Although pet owners’ interest in premium pet food will contribute to some sales growth in 2015, the humanization trend is evolving beyond flavors to ensuring nutritional benefits, ingredient quality and manufacturing standards are as high as human food rather than transposing human food trends wholesale into pet food.”
– Amy Kraushaar, US Category Manager Food & Drink, and Foodservice
This report answers the following key questions:
- Will the humanization of pet food trend continue?
- Where are the innovation opportunities?
- Is homemade pet food detracting from pet food sales?
Pet food sales remain essentially flat with slow projected growth for the future despite the ongoing humanization of pet foods in terms of flavor, ingredients and added benefits. The bright spot is pet treats, showing growth especially in the natural retail channel. Pet ownership, normally driven by households with children, has stagnated as Millennials delay marriage and childbirth. Natural, minimally processed, and “ancestral” products drove sales in the wet dog and cat food segments, but were offset by declines in dry dog and cat food, due to rising consumer concerns about real ingredients and “fillers”.
The perception that pets are members of the family will continue to define the humanization trend in 2015 and drive price increases in the pet food category in the future. Manufacturers should note that the pet food humanization trend translates into pet owners wanting the same quality and safety standards on pet food as on their own food. As far as nutrition is concerned, some pet owners express interest in foods that cater to pet-specific diets, such as what their pets would have eaten in the wild. This entails reformulating products to be without grains, artificial ingredients, or meat by-products. Consumer interest in pet food that meets human criteria for food health, safety and nutrition will drive pricing, particularly in the wake of ongoing concerns related to pet food recalls. Pet foods with specific attributes that mirror trending human foods, like gluten-free, organic, and locally sourced, may attract fewer pet owners.
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