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Trending: Pet Food

Lindsay Beaton, managing editor of Petfood Industry magazine, shares her insights on past, current and future trends in pet food, focusing on various market segments, pet nutrition, consumer impact and other hot topics.
Pet Food Market Trends
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At SuperZoo 2017, the New Products Showcase highlighted pet food companies going beyond simple "Made in USA" claims with specific ingredient sourcing and regionally inspired formulations. | Lindsay Beaton

‘Made in USA’ no longer enough for pet food?

One trend among SuperZoo new products involved some surprisingly specific origin claims.

August 7, 2017

I attended SuperZoo 2017 at the end of July, and one of my first stops on the show floor was (as always) the New Product Showcase. Many new products followed trends I already expected — the clean label trend is alive and well, plenty of premium and superpremium formulas were on display, and the freeze-dried/refrigerated/raw market continues to grow. One thing that struck me in particular, however, was the evolution of the “Made in USA” claim.

Zeroing in on ‘Made in’ pet food claims

“Made in USA” claims of some type are thriving and remain the gold standard when it comes to origin labeling. Whether it’s “sourced and made,” “made in-house” or “proudly sourced, made and packaged” in the US, manufacturers introducing new products aren’t shy about displaying the American flag on their products.

But several of the Showcase’s new products went further, calling out a specific ingredient’s point of origin. Not enough to be from the US, these ingredients were from all over the globe. Annamaet’s Cat Food Feline Sustain No. 29 Sustainable Fish Formula contains Pacific cod. Orijen’s Regional and Tundra cat treats boast “fresh regional ingredients,” including Yorkshire pork. Grizzly Superfoods’ Ultra Premium Food for dogs and cats has Alaskan wild salmon. Ziwi Peak dog food boasts a New Zealand Mackerel and Lamb formula. The turkeys in Spot Farms’ Dehydrated Grain-free Turkey Recipe dog food hail from Indiana, while Wet Noses jerky gets their chickens (“happily raised”) from Washington state, their turkeys from California and their cows from Oregon.

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New products at SuperZoo went a step beyond "MAde in USA" claims, stating the precise region main ingredients were from. | Lindsay Beaton

It would seem that claiming an ever-more-specific location is resonating with customers in an age where more of the are asking where their pets’ food comes from. “Made in USA” is all well and good, but if you can say your cod are from the Pacific Ocean and you turkeys are living out their lives in Indiana, so much the better for customers’ peace of minds. After all, if you’re being that selective with one of your ingredients, all the other ingredients must be held up to equally selective standards.

Regional formulations make a claim

Some of the new products took things even a step further, formulating pet food recipes around regional themes to connect with customers on a more personal level.

Are you from Nantucket? Blue Buffalo has a new formula for your dog called “Nantucket Feast,” made with cod, shrimp, Yukon gold potatoes and cranberries. In that same new line are Colorado Roast and Texas BBQ formulas. Elevate can now offer your pet a Yosemite recipe with salmon as the first ingredient, as well as recipes inspired by Acadia, the Grand Tetons and the Smoky Mountains. Koha Super Premium Pet Food offers slow-cooked stews in recipes like Lone Star Brisket (with Texas-size cuts of beef!), Pike Place Platter (freshwater trout and salmon) or Big Easy Feast (turkey, chicken and duck).

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Customers wanting to go beyond just a single ingredient's source can now find regional formulas highlighting a blend of ingredients associated with a specific area of the world. | Lindsay Beaton

The regional callouts will have pet owners from those areas taking a second look, appreciating the attention to detail in the ingredients and the idea that someone at a pet food company thought their home was worth celebrating in pet food form.

Briefly: SuperZoo new product ingredient trends

  • Apples (the perfect fall ingredient)
  • Coconut/coconut milk/coconut oil
  • Crickets
  • Hemp
  • Squid/carp/salmon/fish in general (lots of fish recipes for dogs)
  • Turkey (just in time for the upcoming holidays)

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