US petfood market update: Specialty petfoods driving industry growth
Natural, grain-free petfoods lead the way in an increasingly diverse market
In 2013, the US petfood industry was a US$11.8 billion business with the pet shop and veterinary clinic segments seeing significant growth (6.5% year-over-year and 7.6% year-over-year, respectively). According to GfK, a research company that monitors pet specialty trends in the US, pet shops contributed the majority of that number, US$7.3 billion, while vet clinics (US$1.5 billion) and farm feed ($US3 billion) rounded things out.
Most segments are contributing to the industry’s growth, but pet treats in particular are a solid bet right now. In the four quarters of 2013, dog treats grew 11.4% (Januaryâ€“March), 11.7% (Aprilâ€“June), 10.4% (Julyâ€“September) and 7.9% (Octoberâ€“December), according to GfK. Cat treats were similarly profitable, growing 7%, 8.7%, 8% and 7.8% in the four quarters of 2013. Dry cat food contributed the least growth, with increases of less than 3% in each quarter (see Table 1).
In the 12 months through May 2014, pet treats in the US brought in a total of US$884 million, according to GfK data released in June. Dog treats brought in the bulk of that number, with US$795 million, while cat treats brought in US$88 million.
Natural products continue to be hot sellers right now, as more and more consumers see their pets as members of their families who deserve the best petfoods they can find—and turn to specialty foods to fulfil that idea. Natural petfoods are driving category growth, according to GfK, at 11.7% year-over-year, and account for US$4.6 billion in sales annually.
Two-thirds of all dog…