Natural petfood: It’s all about the ingredients
Many petfood trends and marketing pitches focus on natural, often featuring what’s not in the product as much as what is
The most important marketing and product trends in natural petfoods have always involved—quite naturally—what the products are made of. But the ingredients thrust gained much momentum as a result of the spring 2007 petfood recalls, and the petfood industry’s fixation on ingredients continues to this day as product recalls keep the consumer focus on product quality and marketers tussle to make their products stand out from the superpremium pack.
As a result, many of the most important petfood product pitches and trends today come down squarely in the court of natural, with what’s not in a product featured as prominently as what is. This is seen in trends including grain-free, meat as the number one ingredient, no byproducts or fillers, no artificial preservatives and limited ingredients. Other earmarks of this trend include formulations boasting human-grade ingredients; more “real” or “whole” ingredients, including fresh meat, fruits and vegetables; and trendy functional ingredients such as omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.
With so many natural petfoods hitting the market, companies are seeing the need to emphasize the superiority of their formulations. Knowing better than to rest on its natural petfood marketâ€“leading laurels, during 2012 Nutro came out with Nutro Ultra, with advertising and packaging featuring the slogan “Nature’s Very Best Ingredients.”