on December 12, 2013

Petfood nutrition trends in 2013

A look back at news-worthy developments, novel ingredients and niche formulas in the 2013 petfood and treat market

Long forgotten are the days of table scraps and the occasional tin can of wet petfood making up the family dog's and cat's diet. Today, every portion of the petfood market-from the superpremium, superfood-filled premixes to a bag of vitamin-enriched alfalfa hay for chinchillas-is acutely aware of human food trends, what pet parents perceive as healthy, and research that can prove the holistic or medicinal benefits of an ingredient or diet method. In short, in order to compete in a rapidly diversifying market, petfood and treat makers need to know companion animal nutrition, inside and out.

Let's look back at what was making it into the bag and on the label of petfood products in 2013, and how those ingredients, additives and formulas had a direct effect on the health of pets.

Health through nutrition, nutrition for seniors and weight management are three of the top trends in both the human food and petfood markets, according to Petfood Industry associate editor, Lindsay Beaton. "The humanization of companion animals is no trade secret, and the phenomenon is only getting more prominent," she said. "As a result, many of the top human food trends have found their way into the petfood market-particularly those that focus on the health and wellness of our furry family members."

Significant trends that mirror the human food industry are grain-free (or corn-free) dog and cat food and treats, products that boast no added sugars (or dyes or artificial preservatives), and products rich in nutrition additives like…

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