Grain-free dry dog, cat food no longer a niche market
Research from the Dog and Cat Food Ingredient Center shows grain-free pet food formulas are now mainstream.
It’s no secret that grain-free dry dog and cat food has become a major portion of the pet food market, but just how pervasive is the grain-free movement? Using the Dog and Cat Food Ingredient Center, a database of the ingredient decks of dog and cat foods on sale in the United States, we did a thorough analysis of the recipes to determine just how widespread the grain-free movement is in pet food.
The percentage of recipes using these common alternatives to grains is nearly the same between dry dog and dry cat foods.
Grain-free dog food formulas
In dry dog food, 44 percent of the recipes in the database do not contain grains. These grains include all forms of corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, oats, millet, flax, barley and sorghum. Of these grain-free recipes, 28 percent have grain-free in their product name or in the formula name. We define names as broken into brand name, product line, formula and stage. For example, “Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-Free Adult” has identified itself as grain free in its formula name. Of the grain-free dry dog food recipes, 50 percent of them contain peas, 23 percent contain chickpeas and 14 percent contain lentils. Some brands are more heavily invested in grain-free than others, but 78 percent of the brands producing dry dog food in our database have at least one grain-free formula.
Grain-free cat food formulas
Examining dry cat food, the numbers are similar — 47 percent of the recipes do not contain grains. Of those grain-free dry cat food recipes, 22 percent have grain-free in their product or formula name. Of the grain-free dry cat food recipes, 46 percent of them contain peas, 19 percent contain chickpeas and 14 percent contain lentils. Of the brands offering dry cat food in the United States, 73 percent have at least one product that with a grain-free recipe.
This analysis of the number of grain-free recipes is only one of many that can be performed using the Dog and Cat Food Ingredient Center. The center contains the collected ingredient decks of dry and wet dog and cat food marketed in the United States in a searchable database, where users can search by brand, ingredient and combination of included or excluded ingredients.