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Pet Food Market Trends
On February 13, 2017

Pet food edging out baby food in US households?

The impact of the "pet parent" mindset on pet care and the pet food industry is expansive.

There is not much feud over pets as family, and Packaged Facts’ December 2016 national survey of pet owners shows that the term “pet parent” is hardly stretching things: Nearly two-thirds of dog or cat owners “strongly agree” that they consider their pets to be part of the family, and another fourth at least “somewhat agree.” 

Conversely, the level of active disagreement—strongly or somewhat disagreeing that pets are family—is not much higher than trivial.

percent-people-consider-pets-family

A majority of dog and cat owners "strongly agree" that their pets are part of the family.

Moreover, this pattern holds across the generational age cohorts — from elderly seniors to Gen Zers who are just now stepping into adulthood.  Importantly, even so, the sentiment is a notch lower among Gen Xers, the generation most likely to have children at home, and a notch stronger among baby boomers, many of whom are in the empty nest stage.

percent-people-consider-pets-family-by-age

Sixty-eight percent of boomers and 65 percent of seniors "strongly agree" that they consider their pets family, many of whom are empty nesters, compared with the 60 percent of Gen Xers, more likely to children at home. 

These modulations by lifestage put some meat on the bones of (mostly) tongue-in-cheek bumper stickers, such as “My dog is smarter than your honor student.” While pets aren’t children, they have for the contemporary American household taken on some of kids’ and grandkids’ traditional role as “apple of the eye” (and some of the “tons of trouble” flipside of that coin…

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