If you have pets, their well-being is your utmost priority, and you only want what’s good for them. Having their best interest in mind revolves around wanting your four-legged friend to enjoy a long and happy life, which means looking after what they eat. Although animals generally have much sturdier stomachs and digestive systems than humans, and they can eat things that would be quite harmful to you without experiencing any troubles, it doesn’t mean their nutrition isn’t important.
And because the number of pets is increasing and owners want to ensure they’re doing everything in their power to guarantee their fuzzy friends get the best care available, the trends in the pet feeding industry are changing as well.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer habits changed, and people began to value quality over quantity. As a result, the concept of premiumisation became a bigger part of the pet feed industry as well. The market focuses on animal food made from ingredients that people would accept on their own plates. By 2027, this sector is estimated to achieve nearly $60 million in revenue, almost double the size compared to pre-pandemic figures.
While premium pet food is nothing new, it is no longer so difficult to come by, as was the case in the past. Only a few brands produced it, and most cats and dogs only received it occasionally. Now, it is a constant element in the diet of many, and smaller brands have adopted or increased their premium offering too.
Pet food processing is a chief aspect of quality, ensuring the food has a pleasant taste and consistent shape and colour. Although it may not appear so from an outsider’s perspective, the industry is highly competitive, and different brands constantly aim to improve their processes and deliver an elevated customer experience. Dry and wet food requires different manufacturing processes. Producers are also looking for the most cost-effective options. As such, specialised machinery and software are necessary to ensure the optimisation of the dosing slide.
The animal feed industry is expected to grow and develop over the next couple of years, so there’ll be continuous demands that quality standards are continuously maintained and even improved. Computerised solutions and the fact that the business area has taken gradual steps towards the globalised approach have made competition fiercer. As a result, the quality is also higher.
Since pets are such an important part of the lives of their owners, it only makes sense that you’d start viewing them more like your friend than as an animal. While only around fifty or sixty years ago, pets weren’t even allowed to go inside the house, nowadays, many people allow their cats and dogs to sleep in the same bed as them. Pets also no longer serve a primarily utilitarian purpose, such as guardians of the household or pest controllers. Nowadays, people mainly want to get them for the companionship they offer. This means that the way the animals are treated has improved quite drastically, and owners want healthier and fresher foods for them.
The nutritional benefits of gently cooked, unprocessed foods cannot be denied, and human-grade ingredients are becoming a staple in the diet of many cats and dogs. Some of the ingredients include pasture-raised chickens and grass-fed beef. There’s also kibble that you add water to in order to turn it into bone broth gravy.
These developments have come as a result of companies embracing a more humane approach and looking at food from the perspective of the pets themselves. Much like humans, they also enjoy pleasant textures and delicious tastes and can get bored eating the same things every day. As a result, diet versatility has also become more important, with companies diversifying their offers. Research shows that a balanced diet is the key to health and improved quality of life for pets, as it is for humans.
As a general rule, ingredients that are natural and fresh are more nutritionally dense compared to those that have been heavily processed and refined. Buyers are more than ever motivated by these aspects, and both companies and large retailers have got the message. The high protein content is the thing most pet parents look for when buying food. However, customers are also likely to gravitate towards products that promise to offer immunity-boosting effects, antioxidants and a wide range of vitamins. People are more aware of the importance of these elements in their own diets and are looking for ways to incorporate them into the food their pets eat as well.
It should come as no surprise that sustainability is part of this list, considering that ethical practices have become increasingly important for all industries. Pet owners are concerned about the importance of humanity being able to provide high living standards for future generations as well. Many of them have adopted environmentally-friendly behaviours separate from their pets, including using less plastic or reducing their meat consumption.
In the pet food industry, sustainability refers to creating nourishment from byproducts that would otherwise go to waste. Since these animal parts could potentially emit tons of methane into the atmosphere, contributing to the worsening of the greenhouse effect, the fact that they can be used in pet food eliminates the risk. And while that may sound quite unsavoury, as it can seem that your cat or dog is essentially eating waste, you should know that companies producing sustainable pet feed are keen on strict quality control practices that guarantee the ingredients have been sourced responsibly.
The buying habits of pet owners have changed in the aftermath of the pandemic, as consumers had reduced opportunities to shop in stores. The ensuing economic crisis has also forced people to be more careful with how much money they spend. In the case of pet food, this has meant that owners began to focus on quality rather than quantity and are determined to get only the best products available to ensure their furry babies live wholesome lives.
You may be interested in: 5 Crucial Aspects to Know Before You Open a Pet Care Shop