‘Free From’ Claims Drive Pet Food Sales: Packaged Facts 3/28/2016
Many new pet food introductions incorporate human-grade ingredients or feature specialized formulations designed to treat health- and age-related conditions, and recent years have also increasingly seen the rise of pet food marketed with “free from” label claims that mirror those increasingly prevalent on products made for humans. These “free from” products are helping to drive growth in the $30 billion pet food industry, according to market research publisher, Packaged Facts in its brand-new report, Pet Food in the U.S., 12th Edition.
“The human/animal bond phenomenon and the humanization of pets continue to be twin key catalysts for growth in the pet food industry,” says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “They affect many aspects of the industry, such as marketing messages, corporate philosophies, acquisition strategy, packaging and product attributes such as flavor and ingredients for pet food. As an extension of these trends, pet owners are highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves. Not coincidentally, many of the pet food entering the market today are directly reminiscent of human fare, no doubt appealing to the pet owner as much as the pet.”
Arguably the most widespread of these “from from” products is grain-free pet food. In the U.S., grain-free claims are a must-have component for natural pet food product lines. According to various estimates, grain-free pet foods account for approximately a third of dog and cat food sales in the pet specialty channel. This translates to more than $2 billion in sales for a segment that will only continue to expand. In the past year, there have been several notable grain-free pet food introductions, including Spring Natural’s grain-free dry dinners for dogs and cats; Evanger’s expanded Super Premium Dinners line for cats that now features three new grain-free and gluten-free exotic protein formulas; and Wellness Natural Pet Food’s new Wellness TruFood.
Several other free-from claims have been proliferating in the industry, including gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, non-GMO, potato/starch-free, and claims of no by-products, artificial ingredients, etc. According to the Packaged Facts November/December 2015 National Pet Owner Survey, dog and cat owners say they are currently using a number of free-of pet foods. The top free-of claims used by dog owners are non-GMO and grain-free/gluten-free. For cat owners, the top free-of claim is no fillers/by-products.
Pet Food in the U.S., 12th Edition pinpoints strategic directions for current and prospective marketers, with a forward-looking focus on high-growth product segments and market drivers. Covering products for all type of companion animals, the report devotes separate chapters to Dog Food, Cat Food, and Other Pet Food (birds, small animal, fish, and reptiles), while also providing a comprehensive Market Overview covering cross-market trends and opportunities. Among these: recent and expected mergers and acquisitions; private-label pet food; advertising and promotional initiatives; the impact of natural products on the industry; specialty diet products; and much more.
Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services.