Pet food mix-ins: adding fresh foods to dog, cat food
As more consumers aim for customization of their pets’ food, human foods are merging with pet food options.
Gearing up for the upcoming “Taste of Pet Food’s Future” Innovation Workshop (April 3) at Petfood Forum, Packaged Facts surveyed dog and cat owners about their use of pet food toppers, mix-ins or gravies/sauces.
Clearly, a varying combination of palatability, pampering, nutritional, customization and coaxing issues are front-of-mind for many pet food purchasers, given that 28 percent of dog owners and 22 percent of cat owners use commercial pet food toppers, mix-ins or gravy/sauce products, and 32 percent of dog owners and 18 percent of cat owners mix human foods or food products in with their commercial pet food (see Figure 1).
FIGURE 1: Pet owners are as likely to use human foods to supplement their pets’ primary diets as industry-made pet food toppers, according to Packaged Facts survey data.
A variety of mix-in options
When it comes to human food, the range of mix-ins that pet owners turn to is almost as broad and chaotic as American cuisine and eating patterns. This range includes breakfast foods (biscuits, donuts, pancakes, muesli, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs), sandwich classics (ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly), fast-food fare and condiments (French fries, hamburgers, hot dogs and KFC fried chicken, along with ketchup, mustard and even hot sauce) and hot meal standards (beef stew, macaroni and cheese, meat and potatoes, meatloaf).
International foods and ingredients also get a nod (Belgian cheese, curry, mango, papaya, salsa), as do the related realms of culinary trends (hummus, legumes, olive oil, salami, sweet potato, yogurt) and…