Grain-free petfood: A top trend in the US pet market
Desire for natural products, pet humanization drive this growing segment
Among the trends currently driving the US petfood industry, grain-free petfood is one of the most significant. Sales of grain-free petfood at US pet stores increased 32% in 2013, according to data from GfK, a consumer insights company that tracks sales in more than 11,000 pet outlets (including national and regional chains, as well as neighborhood pet shops) via its Retail and Technology division.
Grain-free is itself part of a broader trend: consumer desire for more natural petfood options on their store shelves. "Within petfood, we've seen natural just take off," said Maria Lange, senior product manager for GfK Retail and Technology. "Natural petfood accounts for 63% of all food sales in pet retail, and our research shows that this natural trend will continue to move forward quickly."
Proponents of grain-free and high protein diets say the formulas are more natural for dogs and cats, giving them more energy and healthier coats and cutting back on allergic reactions. And this increasing focus on pet health is part of a still-larger trend: the humanization of pets.
Pet humanization is a hot topic in the petfood industry right now, and is characterized by exactly what it sounds like-pet owners increasingly taking the well-being of their furry companions every bit as seriously as that of any other member of their family. "Consumers…