SOME key consumer behavioral changes of late toward pet foods are expected to continue as the market continues to zero in on high quality pet food.
Reports published by PetFood Industry underscored the importance of developing pet foods produced as much as possible in the same high standards as human food. The more pets become humanized, the more consumers become discerning that they now carefully read the fine prints in every bag of cat or dog food before they buy or serve it to their pets.
Overall, PetFood Industry believes the following trends will shape the pet food industry in the next 12 months.
1. Natural vs. Processed
Pet foods that are described using words like scientific or lab-tested could cause consumers to shy away from it. What inspires positive feeling are descriptive words such as organic, sustainable, family-owned, humane and environment-friendly as they suggest that the ingredients used were ethically raised and treated. Also, mentions of “no preservatives” or “no genetically modified ingredients” in pet foods put consumers at ease. The less processing it takes to make the pet food, the better.
Malunggay or moringa is a superfood that is common in the Philippines. Many pet owners who prepare their own pet food usually add moringa and other vegetables like pumpkin to their home-made treat. Commercial pet food that claim to be enriched with superfood such as kale, chia, sweet potato, kelp, broccoli, carrots, apple and raw honey should enjoy some good sales this year.
3. Limited Ingredient Diets (LID)
PetFood Industry believes the market's focus on LID this year will grow further. LID foods became popular as they are supposed to ward off food allergies in pets. As pet owners learn to scrutinize every ingredient that goes into their pet's food, the more they gravitate towards the specialized LID products.
4. Health is wealth
Because veterinary care isn't cheap, demand for holistic diets for pets is on the rise. This opens opportunities for pet food manufacturers to come up with variants that address different aspects of pet health such as related to cognitive nutrition, anti-inflammatory nutrition, lifestyle nutrition and others, said PetFood Industry.
5. Certified ingredients
Consumers prefer to buy pet foods with ingredients that are familiar or have been duly certified by a credible independent industry or government body. Certifications are a clear way to inform consumers about the way in which a food or ingredient is produced. Casual claims of reduced or absence of unnecessary additives or other frowned at ingredients don't satisfy consumers anymore who demand transparency which they hope to find when they read the labels, PetFood Industry's report states.
6. Grain-free and raw diets
Grain-free and raw diets are here to stay, said CEO Scott Glover of Mid America Pet Food, in an interview with PetFood Industry. But Glover believes raw diets, in particular, will always play a very small percentage of the overall market.
“When it comes down to it, the foods that are going to be here for the long term are those that offer good ‘nutritional values’ to the pet owner and those brands that keep their formulas up to date with the latest scientific advancements,” Glover added.
Meanwhile, BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) will show further growth, particularly in Western Europe, but isn't likely to grow beyond the stage of an interesting niche, said PetFood Industry.