For the petfood industry, the glass is two-thirds full -- things could be a lot better, but they could be a lot worse, according to David Sprinkle, publisher and research director of Packaged Facts speaking at Petfood Forum 2013, April 16.
Today 38 percent of households have dogs, up from 35 percent in 2007. About a quarter of households keep cats which has been a pretty steady number. "Nothing bad about long-term trends," said Sprinkle. "Other pets, such as birds and fish took a hit during the recession. But they are a small part of the market. The only problem there is small pets are often starter pets."
Petfood as a whole is showing 5 percent annual growth in sales in 2013. Sprinkle said that is more solid performance than consumer package goods overall. "Any consumer product manufacturer would kill for these numbers.”
Packaged Facts also surveyed the performance of different retail channels for petfood. The biggest surprise was that sales through mass market retailers, grocery stores except Wal-Mart, have been shrinking slightly or holding steady. The growth is in specialty channels such as gourmet and specialty food stores and independent natural food stores.
Growth for sales from pet stores is up from 52 percent in 2012 to 54.3 percent in 2013, while sales from veterinarians are going down.
"There is innovation and growth in the market, but it is at the specialty end, and you should be watching that," said Sprinkle.
To see a summary of Sprinkle's talk, view the Consumer petfood spending trends for 2013 video.