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UK Pet Food market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Pet Food market, its consumers and the major players who make up that market.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

  • What are the key challenges facing the industry?
  • Who is the consumer and what do they want?
  • Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Market

Point of sale market data

In conjunction with IRi, extensive point of sale data shows you what consumers are spending their money on

Market Size

How big is the market today and what is our 5 year forecast? Includes both best & worst case scenarios

Market Segmentation

What are the different segments within the market and how are those individual segments performing?

Consumer

Consumer behaviors

What are consumers looking for, what drives their buying habits and what are their main purchase influencers?

Demographic breakdown

From iGen & Millennials to Baby Boomers & beyond. Who is spending money and what are they spending it on?

Representative sample

We gather our data from real-world consumers, selected to accurately reflect precise global demographics

Players

Company strategy

What are the key players doing, what has been successful for them and what was their marketing spend?

Product innovation

Using data from our Global New Product Database, what products were launched and how well were they perceived?

Opportunities

What happens next, which areas are likely to experience growth and what opportunities exist within the market?

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alyson Parkes, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The desire to pamper pets has underpinned the continuous value sales growth in the market, with NPD often reflecting trends in the human food market. This bodes well for emerging pet food types such as high protein and plant-based. However, proving their worth, particularly in terms of their health credentials, looks to be needed.Alyson Parkes
Food & Drink Analyst

Products covered in this Report

The market size in this Report comprises UK retail sales of pet food for cats and dogs through all retail channels, including direct to consumers. Food is categorised as dry, wet, snacks and treats. Cat drinks are also included.

Excluded are healthcare and accessories such as items for home grooming, collars, leashes, toys, chews, bedding, feeding equipment and litter, and over-the-counter flea/tick treatments and prescription medicines. Pets themselves as well as services for pets, such as boarding, grooming, training and veterinary services, and pet insurance are also excluded from the market size and from this Report.

What you need to know

Estimated at £2.7 billion in 2018, total value sales of cat and dog food grew by 13.2% over 2013-18. The ongoing premiumisation of pet food has pushed up average prices above inflation, which is expected to continue to prop up value sales going forward. With little growth expected in the UK’s pet population, volume sales are predicted to grow by a modest 2% over the next five years to 2023.

The humanisation of pet food continues to be a core driver behind NPD (New Product Development), particularly in the snacks and treats segment, however, these products have been identified as one of the culprits in the high obesity rates among UK cats and dogs. This could pose a problem to the segment if owners are encouraged to cut back to support weight management. Meanwhile, the overarching humanisation trend should support the interest in emerging types of pet food such as high-protein, grain-free and plant-based.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Strong growth in value sales continues in 2018
              • Figure 1: Total UK retail value sales of cat and dog food, 2013-23
            • Modest volume growth predicted over 2018-23
              • Snacks and treats see strong value and volume growth in dog food
                • Figure 2: UK retail value sales of dog food, by type, 2016-18
              • Wet cat food retains share of value and volume sales
                • Figure 3: UK retail value sales of cat food, by type, 2016-18
              • Pet ownership is stable, pressures remain
                • Pet obesity remains top welfare concern for vets
                  • Focus on plastic packaging is a challenge for the market
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Leading dog food brands continue to see sales fall
                        • Figure 4: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail wet and dry dog food market, by value, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                      • Felix and Whiskas see another year of falling sales
                        • Figure 5: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail wet and dry cat food market, by value, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                      • Mars and Nestlé lead launches; NPD focuses on texture
                        • Sainsbury’s launches hypoallergenic pet food; Tesco extends availability of chilled food
                          • Upswing in pet food tapping into buzz around gut health
                            • Advertising spend enters third year of decline
                              • Cat food claws back some share of adspend
                                • The consumer
                                  • Dry food leads for dogs, wet for cats
                                    • Figure 6: Feeding cats and dogs shop-bought and homemade food, May 2018
                                  • High reported purchasing of high-protein pet food, plant-based lags
                                    • Figure 7: Interest in buying selected emerging types of pet food, May 2018
                                  • High-protein pet food enjoys nutritious image, grain-free and plant-based lack awareness
                                    • A favourite brand is important to two fifths of pet owners
                                      • Figure 8: Choice factors when purchasing pet food, May 2018
                                    • Products that allow pets to join in human activities garner interest
                                      • Figure 9: Interest in pet food products, May 2018
                                    • Need to tackle scepticism about pet food health claims
                                      • Figure 10: Behaviours related to pet food, May 2018
                                    • What we think
                                    • Issues and Insights

                                      • Grain-free and plant-based pet food spark interest but lack awareness
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Trust in functional claims on pet food is still low
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Opportunity for subscription services in pet food
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Strong growth in value sales continues in 2018
                                                          • Modest volume growth predicted over 2018-23
                                                            • Snacks and treats see strong value and volume growth in dog food
                                                              • Wet cat food retains share of value and volume sales
                                                                • Pet ownership is stable, pressures remain
                                                                  • Pet obesity remains top welfare concern for vets
                                                                    • Focus on plastic packaging is a challenge for the market
                                                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                      • Strong growth in value sales continues
                                                                        • Figure 11: Total UK retail value and volume sales of cat and dog food, 2013-23
                                                                      • Marginal growth expected for volume sales
                                                                        • Figure 12: Total UK retail volume sales of cat and dog food, 2013-23
                                                                      • Strong outlook for value sales forecast
                                                                        • Figure 13: Total UK retail value sales of cat and dog food, 2013-23
                                                                      • Forecast methodology
                                                                      • Market Segmentation

                                                                        • Snacks and treats see strong value and volume growth in dog food
                                                                          • Figure 14: UK retail value and volume sales of dog food, by type, 2016-18
                                                                        • Wet dog food value sales grow ahead of volumes
                                                                          • Wet cat food retains share of value and volume sales
                                                                            • Figure 15: UK retail value and volume sales of cat food, by type, 2016-18
                                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                                          • Pet obesity remains top welfare concern for vets
                                                                            • Pet ownership is stable
                                                                              • Figure 16: Pet ownership, by type of pet, May 2014-May 2018
                                                                            • Private renting curbs pet ownership
                                                                              • Figure 17: Cat/dog ownership, by housing situation, May 2018
                                                                            • Growing child population should support the market
                                                                              • Figure 18: Cat and dog ownership, by presence of children in the household, May 2018
                                                                            • Return to growth for real incomes
                                                                              • Figure 19: Annual percentage change in CPI and AWE (regular pay), monthly basis, January 2012-May 2018
                                                                            • Focus on plastic packaging is a challenge for the market
                                                                              • Figure 20: Share of new products in the UK pet food market carrying an environmentally friendly package claim, 2014-18
                                                                            • Raw food faces safety concerns
                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                              • Leading dog food brands continue to see sales fall
                                                                                • Felix and Whiskas see another year of falling sales
                                                                                  • Mars and Nestlé lead launches; NPD focuses on texture
                                                                                    • Sainsbury’s launches hypoallergenic pet food; Tesco extends availability of chilled food
                                                                                      • Upswing in pet food tapping into buzz around gut health
                                                                                        • Advertising spend enters third year of decline
                                                                                          • Cat food claws back some share of adspend
                                                                                          • Market Share

                                                                                            • Leading dog food brands continue to see sales fall
                                                                                              • Figure 21: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail wet and dry dog food market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                            • Own-label continues to gain share
                                                                                              • Good Boy and Pedigree prop up volume growth for dog snacks and treats
                                                                                                • Figure 22: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail dog snacks and treats market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                              • Felix and Whiskas see another year of falling sales
                                                                                                • Strong value sales continue for Gourmet and Sheba
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail wet and dry cat food market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                                • Dreamies’ sales fall into decline; Whiskas’ woes continue
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail cat snacks and treats market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                • Dog snacks and treats extend share of launches
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: New product launches in the UK pet food market, by segment (sorted by 2017), 2014-18
                                                                                                • Mars and Nestlé lead launches; NPD focuses on texture
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Share of new product launches in the UK pet food market, by company, 2014-18
                                                                                                • Butcher’s Pet Care revamps dog food range
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Butcher’s dog food rebranding, April 2018
                                                                                                • Dreamies extends portfolio with Deli-Catz range
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Dreamies’ new Deli-Catz range of cat treats, August 2017
                                                                                                • Raft of launches from premium cat food brand Sheba
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Sheba Creamy Snacks with Beef, January 2018
                                                                                                • Nestlé extends Purina Gourmet range…
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Purina Gourmet Melting Heart Cat Food, January 2018
                                                                                                • …and adds premium Concoctions range to Felix As Good As It Looks
                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Felix As Good As It Looks Concoctions wet cat food, March 2018
                                                                                                • Lily’s Kitchen launches ‘Suppurrs Stews’
                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Lily’s Kitchen Suppurrs Stews, July 2018
                                                                                                • Sainsbury’s launches a range of hypoallergenic pet food
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Sainsbury’s hypoallergenic pet food, January 2018
                                                                                                • Tesco extends availability of chilled pet food in its stores
                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Examples of chilled dog food products available at Tesco, December 2017-February 2018
                                                                                                • M&S’ NPD activity focuses on range rebrand
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Examples from M&S pet food range, January-June 2018
                                                                                                • No additives/preservatives claims surge forward
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Share of new product launches in the UK pet food market carrying a no additives/preservatives claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                • Upswing in pet food tapping into buzz around gut health
                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Fish4Dogs pet food with prebiotics, April 2018
                                                                                                • Novelty pet food launches on the up
                                                                                                  • Three Dog Bakery launches Sandwich Cookies for dogs
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Sandwich cookies from Three Dog Bakery, March 2018
                                                                                                  • “Alcohol-style” drinks for pets are emerging
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: ‘Pawsecco’ products, 2017 and 2018
                                                                                                  • Austin and Kat brings CBD dog biscuits to the UK
                                                                                                    • Packaging activity spans sustainability and social causes
                                                                                                      • Webbox makes 100% recyclable packaging pledge
                                                                                                        • Naturediet Pet Foods plans transition to Tetra Pak cartons
                                                                                                          • Lily’s Kitchen repackaged to celebrate Pride
                                                                                                          • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                            • Advertising spend enters third year of decline
                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on pet food, 2014-18
                                                                                                            • Cat food claws back some share of adspend
                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Total and share of above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on pet food, by type, 2014-18
                                                                                                            • Whiskas is the most heavily advertised brand despite cutbacks
                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on pet food, by top 10 brands, 2014-18
                                                                                                            • Dreamies promotes new Deli-Catz range of treats
                                                                                                              • Felix is still #uptomischief
                                                                                                                • Sheba continues with Resistance is Futile campaign
                                                                                                                  • Pets at Home partners with Jimmy Doherty to ask “What’s in your dog’s dinner?”
                                                                                                                    • James Wellbeloved partners with The Times for #wellchuffed campaign
                                                                                                                      • Harringtons introduces Walkies on the Wild Side campaign
                                                                                                                        • Lily’s Kitchen launches first above-the-line campaign…
                                                                                                                          • …and leads the call for companies to ‘ditch the pouch’
                                                                                                                            • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                              • Dry food leads for dogs, wet for cats
                                                                                                                                • High reported purchasing of high-protein pet food, plant-based lags
                                                                                                                                  • High-protein pet food enjoys nutritious image, grain-free and plant-based lack awareness
                                                                                                                                    • A favourite brand is important to two fifths of pet owners
                                                                                                                                      • Products that allow pets to join in human activities garner interest
                                                                                                                                        • Need to tackle scepticism on pet food health claims
                                                                                                                                        • Pet Food Feeding Behaviours

                                                                                                                                          • Dog owners are more likely to make pet food at home than cat owners
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Feeding cats and dogs shop-bought and homemade food, May 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Dry food remains the staple for dogs, wet food for cats
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Types of pet food bought, by type of pet, May 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Interest in Purchasing Emerging Types of Pet Food

                                                                                                                                          • High-protein pet food is reportedly bought by more than a third
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Interest in buying selected emerging types of pet food, May 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Just three in 10 pet owners are interested in buying raw food
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Share of new product launches in the UK pet food market carrying selected claims, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                          • Younger pet owners are the most interested in buying grain-free pet food
                                                                                                                                            • Sizeable interest in plant-based pet food
                                                                                                                                              • Uptick in NPD fuelled by snacks
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Examples of vegan/vegetarian dog treats in the UK pet food market, May 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Qualities Associated with Emerging Types of Pet Food

                                                                                                                                              • High-protein food is associated with the most positive attributes
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Correspondence analysis, perceptions of selected pet food concepts, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Perceptions of selected pet food concepts, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Widespread uncertainty about grain-free and plant-based pet foods
                                                                                                                                                • Only 19% see plant-based as better for the environment
                                                                                                                                                  • Grain-free and plant-based foods lag behind on perceptions as nutritious
                                                                                                                                                    • Raw food is seen as the least processed but storage is a concern
                                                                                                                                                    • Choice Factors in Pet Food Purchasing

                                                                                                                                                      • A favourite brand is important to two fifths of pet owners
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Choice factors when purchasing pet food, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                      • Functional benefits are important yet scepticism is high
                                                                                                                                                        • All-natural ingredients are less of a priority than price
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Share of new product launches in the UK pet food market carrying an all-natural product claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                        • Older pet owners are most likely to look for foods specific to lifestage
                                                                                                                                                        • Interest in Pet Food Products

                                                                                                                                                          • Products that allow pets to join in human activities garner most interest
                                                                                                                                                            • A quarter would be interested in buying pet-friendly cakes for special occasions
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Interest in pet food products, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                            • Pet-friendly drinks is an under-explored area of the pet market
                                                                                                                                                              • Frozen treats can help with fluid intake
                                                                                                                                                              • Behaviours Related to Pet Food

                                                                                                                                                                • Proving health claims on pet food is important
                                                                                                                                                                  • A role for vets and store staff in building trust
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Behaviours related to pet food, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • Campaigns on the quality of pet food have reached a sizeable audience
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Example of grain-free dog food highlighting ingredients, April 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • Marked interest in subscription pet food plans
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Best- and worst-case forecasts for retail sales of cat and dog food, by value, 2018-23
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Best- and worst-case forecasts for retail sales of cat and dog food, by volume, 2018-23
                                                                                                                                                                          • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Drivers

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2013-18 and 2018-23
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: New product launches in the UK pet food market, by branded versus own-label, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Share of new product launches in the UK pet food market carrying a digestion and urinary tract claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Share of new product launches in the UK pet food market carrying a seasonal claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Share of above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on pet food, by top 10 brands, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on pet food, by top 10 advertisers, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Share of above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on pet food, by top 10 advertisers, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 64: Total and share of above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising, by media type, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the UK retail wet and dry dog food market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 66: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the UK retail dog snacks and treats market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the UK retail wet and dry cat food market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 68: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the UK retail cat snacks and treats market, by value and volume, 2016/17 and 2017/18
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 69: How pet food is typically bought, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Repertoire of types of pet food bought, May 2018