Lows and highs in pet nutrition spending
Premium petfoods, health-related formulas playing a significant part in market growth due to humanization of pets
American shoppers are not yet willing or able to throw their wallets open, and this reality has been evident in pet market performance. PetSmart is estimating comparable store sales growth of 3%-3.5% for fiscal year 2013. As reported in Packaged Facts' upcoming Pet Market Outlook 2014-2015, IRI's multi-outlet (MULO) tracking in the mass market indicates 3.2% growth for cat food and treats in 2013 and only 1.4% growth for dog food and treats.
Even that 1.4% growth in dog food and treats, however, attaches to a $4.4 billion category in IRI's MULO-tracked sales, for $59 million in sales growth. The $4.5 billion cereal category, in contrast, lost $156 million in MULO-tracked sales, and the $4.3 billion frozen dinner category lost $118 million. So the grass is still greener on the pet side of the fence.
That's because pet owners continue to tilt toward higher levels of spending on pets and more purchasing of premium pet products. According to Packaged Facts' January 2014 pet owner survey, 39% of pet owners somewhat or strongly agree that they are spending more on pet products than they used to, compared to 27% who somewhat or strongly disagree (see Table 1). This doesn't make for a sales growth revolution, but the evolution lives on.
This evolution stems…