Four out of five pet owners now consider their pet a member of the family, and consumers are shifting their priorities when it comes to purchasing food for their pets accordingly (Mintel, Pet Food, 2013).
In the July issue of Food Technology Magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, Contributing Editor A. Elizabeth Sloan writes about recent trends in gourmet pet food.
- The premium sector accounted for 40 percent of the 26 billion dollar U.S. pet food market in 2013 (Packaged Facts, 2014).
- Sales of natural pet foods totaled $4.1 billion in 2012 (Packaged Facts, 2014).
- 79 percent of pet owners said the quality of their pets' food is as important as their own (Mintel, 2013).
- Top drivers of sales in pet foods included adding "excitement" to the pets' diets via flavors, gravies, look-alike human recipes, and meal specific foods such as appetizers and breakfast (IRI, 2014).
- Half of new pet foods touted have added vitamins, antioxidants, protein, DHA for puppies/kittens, and no fillers, artificial ingredients or byproducts (Packaged Facts, 2014).
- In 2013, more households had dogs than children, with 39 percent of households having a dog and 32 percent of households having children (Packaged Facts, 2014).
- The Paleo Diet has created a new sector of "ancestral" foods reflective of earlier diets of canines and felines that are focused on the high quality of proteins and grains in pet food.
- 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight causing the need for functional and therapeutic pet food (APOP, 2013).
- 51 percent of dog owners and 44 percent of cat owners believe that "made in the U.S." is a very important package claim as fear of contamination and product safety is a large concern among pet owners (Packaged Facts, 2014).
Explore further: Researcher reveals the truth about cats and dogs
The Food Technology article is available online: www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2014/july/features/specialtymarkets.aspx