When it comes to pet food, customers are demanding more — and better — from the products they buy: more innovation, better nutrition, more functionality. They want premium or superpremium (or at least something that makes them feel like they’re providing their pet with a premium experience), optional ingredient options, and a whole host of health benefits. All of these needs and wants came up during this year’s discussion of industry trends, so let’s find out what we’re likely to see in the world of pet food nutrition in 2022.
Premiumization: Continued growth in pet and human realms
Jorge Martínez Carrillo, president of ADM Animal Nutrition, a Manufacturing, Nutrition and Animal Solutions, said, “Premiumization is expected more often by global pet owners, many of whom follow the flexitarian lifestyle and practice for themselves and their family members. interested in sustainable food sources. Marketing business that provides a wide range of products to the animal nutrition market. “Buyers of premium and superpremium products are seeking ‘all-natural’ or clean-label claims, including foods and treats made from organic and non-GMO ingredients without the use of artificial preservatives. Natural flavors and colors that look and taste good.” Looks good, is in demand too.”
In a recent survey of US dog and cat owners, Quotient (which offers omnichannel digital marketing capabilities aimed at increasing value through consumer experiences) found that pet owners are less likely to make any other pet-related purchases. Compared to spend more money on pet food. They also found that gourmet food and subscription services have grown significantly, and that homemade pet food is on the rise – all subtle trends within the (super)premium framework.
“About 17% of our survey respondents noted that they cook for their pets,” said Quotient CEO Steven Boal. “As a technology company dedicated to serving the grocery industry, what’s remarkable about it is that homemade pet food is made with the same ingredients that go into people’s food. Now there’s an opportunity for new brands — including the ones you might consider for your plate — to enter the pet food market, or at least consider selling their offerings differently. But really, all of these trends underscore that consumers want to feed their pets the best food they can. ,
Premium trends are being identified in retail, as independent retail seeks growth opportunities.
“We believe that slowly cooked pet food, a new and upcoming category, is another pet specialty opportunity for independent retail to win,” said Chris Rowland, CEO of pet supply retail corporation Pet Supply Plus. “As we did with raw, freeze dried and other frozen items, this will be a great growth category. Like many things in Pet Specialty, we will look at a number of manufacturing partners that are attracted to this category and we will see that winner. Who Will Be – We are confident that partnering with the industry’s best brands will drive the most dedicated to independent pet specialties.
It seems to be driving many other nutritional trends pet owners are willing to spend.
Rebecca Casey, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for packaging, printing and specialty media, TC Transcontinental, said, “As consumers are investing more than ever in the food their pets eat, the premium pet food market continues to grow. Will stay.” company. “Today’s pet owner is looking for high-quality, personalized food for their pet. It is important that pet owners feel confident and secure in the food they are feeding their companions, and they certainly can. I am willing to pay more for it.”
Ingredient Innovations: Alternative Protein, Plant-Based Diets
“Sustainability efforts include the use of alternative proteins,” said Juan Gomez, global director of AllTech, which provides pet supplements and feed additives for the health and nutrition of pets. “There is great interest in new and alternative sources of protein. , and this is even more important in the face of climate change and the degradation of natural resources. These alternatives would include insect, cell (lab grown or cultured) and microbial proteins – however, we should note that all of these alternative proteins would have to prove that they are more sustainable than the conventional sources of protein they use. are changing.”
In fact, a recent Packaged Facts report (US Pet Market Focus: Pet Food Update, 2021) identified the “advancement of superpremium pet foods into non-traditional forms,” including alternative protein and plant-based diets, as a Accelerated as trend by increased pet spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Notably, sustainability was another trend on that list.) Other data-driven agencies that monitor the pet food market are expecting a similar trend in 2022.
Client Manager Sam Smith said, “We expect human-grade food, the impact of adoption/epidemic puppies, and ingredient innovations such as insect protein, grain-free and natural products to take the pet food market by storm during the coming year. can.” For NielsenIQ, which measures shoppers’ behavior across a variety of industries. “In fact, we are seeing innovations such as a rise in the popularity of grain-free pet food after a 4.9% increase in sales from July 2020 to July 2021.”
A much talked-about part of the alternative protein trend is likely the vegan pet diet.
,[I think one trend will be] A step toward a more plant-based diet,” said Amanda Rowlatt, founder of Bramble, a dog food company that sells plant-based pet diets. “I think some companies will do hybrids, a mix of animal and plant proteins, because We’ve seen this in the human food industry, so pet food companies will naturally follow.”
Of course, pet food is well acquainted with the trends in human food that said humans feed their animals.
“As human foods continue to move away from highly processed foods, we see this trend flowing into pet food ingredients as well,” said Justin Stadden, product group manager in Scholar’s feed division. Scholar buys, sells, stores, handles and processes grain, feed and food stuffs. “Whether it’s a raw, meat-first diet or the growing demand for plant-based protein, clean-label ingredients will continue to make their way to the top of the pet food ingredient deck.”
Functional content: managing the health of pets
Hovering over all this is the desire of real pet owners to take the best care of their animals.
“Functional ingredients will become more popular in all types of pet food,” said Ashley Martin, senior applications scientist at Otera, which develops and manufactures natural coloring ingredients for food and beverages. “This will mimic the human tendency to have functional ingredients in human food and beverages that has been introduced since COVID and will be transferred to pet food. Pet parents will want to find foods that provide health benefits for their furry family member, and they will pay more for premium ingredients. Products containing these functional ingredients will have a health halo; So other clean label ingredients in these pet foods/treats will be important.”
Functionality and customization go hand in hand, as pet food shoppers look for formulas that meet their pet’s specific needs.
“We [are seeing a] Carrillo said, focus more on functional food ingredients that are adapted from the species level to a pet adapted to specific needs. “There is a growing need for science-backed, real-food solutions that support proactive health management.”
Industry wise, the need for functional pet products seems to be one with staying power.
“With the pandemic as a backdrop and rising health consciousness, immunity is on the minds of consumers,” Gomez said. “Building and maintaining a proper immune system through dietary choices (immuno-nutrition) and lifestyle changes has become imperative for many consumers, and this behavior extends to pets and their associated foods. In this context Immunonutrition is directly linked to ‘functional ingredients’ or ingredients that go beyond basic nutrition and provide an optimal health benefit.”
Of course, functional pet supplements have been around for quite some time, and the demand for those types of products is expected to increase as well.
“We expect pet parents to continue to seek non-drug options for the health and well-being of their pets, such as chew supplements and treats with added benefits for their pets,” said Steve Joyce, a pet owner. said the CEO of the food company, which offers customized. Products for pets.
Overall, it is clear that there are a lot of guidelines for pet food companies if they are looking to expand or refine their product lines, or even into a new sub-category of pet food or treats. want to break According to the industry, the best bets for 2022 are items that speak to pet owners on a personal level: food and treats that will make pet parents feel like they are feeding their animals with specially designed premium ingredients. Providing innovative, or functional nutrition. them.
2022 pet food business trends