South African pet owners spend nearly ZAR5 billion (US$550.7 million) per year on petfood for dogs, cats and other pets, according to Pet Food Industry Association of South Africa.
Just 20 percent of the country’s dogs and 35 percent of cats are fed with commercial petfood from about 200 brands available, says the association’s executive director, Barry Hundley, which means many opportunities exist here for petfood manufacturers.
Changing lifestyles and the Internet have sparked a boom in the petfood industry as people become more solitary. These factors, according to Hundley, have helped the South African petfood market reach ZAR4.5 billion (US$495.6 million) to ZAR5 billion (US$550.7 million) at the current growth rate of 1-3 percent per year.
For petfood manufacturers, three main marketing channels are available here: expensive, specialized brands sold by veterinarians, grocery-store brands and other, non-grocery brands available through retail outlets. Specialized brands account for retail sales of about ZAR1 billion (US$110.1 million) per year and non-grocery brands account for about ZAR0.5 billion per year (US$550,685), while grocery brands such as Husky and Bobtail account for the rest.
A challenge in the South African petfood industry is that it is “overregulated and underpoliced,” he says: "There are lots of regulations but not as much enforcement of them. Every variety of petfood - each flavor and each type for large, small, young or old dogs or cats - must be registered separately." But, Hundley says South African government inspectors do not visit petfood facilities often enough, so manufacturers can get away with questionable practices.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.