Obesity is an emerging and silent enemy that pet owners are usually unaware of, particularly in developing pet food markets. According to a study by Triplethree International on pet ailments in Mexico, only 10% of dog owners reported their dogs being overweight or obese in 2020.
Yet actual overweight rates are likely higher than reported. According to Royal Canin’s website for the Mexican market, at least 20% of dogs in developed markets are obese. This metric excludes the percentage of overweight dogs, which are even harder to measure and observe, especially with small and medium-sized breeds.
Surprisingly, the local veterinary community does not disclose information, data or insights about the level of obesity in the Mexican pet population.
It is not difficult to realize that, in most cases, pet obesity is a result of an excess of caloric intake for the animal’s energy needs. At the same time, it is essential to understand the combination of factors driving growth in the pet food market. From the demand side, these factors are pet population, caloric penetration and overfeeding.
As caloric penetration and the pet population rise in most Latin American markets, the industry may be ignoring the overfeeding effect.
Pet owners are likely feeding their pets according to the pets’ appetites, rather than manufacturers’ guidelines on the pet food packaging labels. This often leads to overfeeding.
Triplethree International estimates that pet food overfeeding is between 1% and 1.5% of the total pet food consumption in Mexico. This estimation is simply what’s left of the growth rate after deducting population growth and the increase in caloric penetration. In other words, if the market sold 1 million metric tons in one year, about 10 to 15 thousand tons of pet food were attributable to overfeeding.
Overweight and obesity in Mexican dogs and cats might not be quite critical today, yet this problem could eventually boost the expenses of medical treatments, which may hinder or reshape the future development of the pet food industry in Mexico.
Iván Franco is the founder of Triplethree International and has collaborated on hundreds of research projects for several consumer goods industries. He was granted the Global Consultant of the Year award by Euromonitor International and authored the book 17 Market Strategies for Growth (in Spanish).
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