Smaller players can compete in the
following ways ---
Create new products based on:
- Shopper insights: (don't have to spend too much money on obtaining insights-lot of information is available on the web). The product must appeal to the consumer at the emotional level providing convenience, value, and nutritional benefits. For nutritional benefits soft claims will do. For example product XYZ contains omega-3 fatty acids. Structure-function claims can be used on packaging based on information available in public domain.
- Satisfying retailer's needs: provide products that provide value to the retailer-in terms of price, quality and service. For example if the product is easy to handle, least prone to infestation, and has less damages retailers appreciate that. If the product has a high velocity and provides high margin for retailers then it is a win-win situation.
- Strong visual appeal, pet appeal and owner appeal: A great product with a catchy name and packaging has a strong appeal to end user- the consumer. A product with unique form, texture and is some what similar to some human food shape, form, texture or a combination thereof can be appealing to consumers or end users. This provides opportunity for smaller players to come up with unique, forms, shapes, size, texture and a strong pet appeal (through great palatability). Generally cat owners go for a strong cat appeal and dog owners look for product uniqueness. If the product has pleasing aroma to the owner and has a strong appeal to the cat it is winner in the market place for both retailer and the manufacturer.
- Product Differentiation: Smaller pet food manufacturers can provide customized products for larger retailers. It can be products unique in form with high owner and pet appeal. The products need not be extruded kibbles or canned products. It can be as simple as soups, sauces, beverages, or wholesome meals in liquid form or any other product format.
- Health Matters:
Functional product area is an emerging category. Products
that can provide health benefits to pets will be a
driving force behind pet food sales. Some of the key
areas to consider are:
a. Bone and Joint Health: Pets are getting older and living longer but they tend to suffer from bone and joint health issues. If the new products can improve the bone and joint health it will be a winner.
b. Immune Health: Immune system health is a complex system. A healthy digestive system can provide immune health, and regular exercises can provide a strong immunity, a well balanced and healthy diet can provide healthy immune system, portion control can develop healthy body. So how do we hone in on the key elements of immune health. There are a few ways to go about. One product by itself may or may not be able to provide all the benefits. For example a portfolio of new products can be created under healthy immune system.
c. Weight Management: Pet obesity is a rising concern. Products that can offer significant weight management benefits is a great avenue for manufacturers.
d. Stress Busters: Pets are stressed out as their owners are. Opportunities for developing products with
Consumers want their pets to be healthy so they can reduce their visits to the vets and this has resulted to growing market for healthy food and treats. Health and Taste will be a great selling point. The new items thus created should be value priced, of high velocity and supported by efficient supply chain.