Natural pet products are expected to exceed US$7 billion in 2014, and premiumization has been a primary driving force behind it, according to a Packaged Facts report.

The report, "Natural, Organic, and Eco-friendly Pet Products in the US, 5th Edition," says that natural petfood will account for US$6.6 billion in sales by the end of 2014, and natural pet care products will make up the remainder. Premium foods are doing better right now than other petfood segments, boosting the natural products category. Margins on superpremium petfoods can reach 40%, compared with 30% for premium brands and 20% or less for standard brands. As more of these higher-end foods take on the "natural" claim, sales will continue to rise for that segment, according to Packaged Facts.

On the other side of the coin, offering just a natural claim isn't enough for consumers anymore, and consumers are willing to spend more for additional health and wellness benefits. According to Packaged Facts’ April/May 2014 survey results, 64% of pet owners believe that high-quality petfoods are effective for preventive health care, and 68% are willing to spend extra money to ensure the wellness of their pets. Sixty-two percent of pet owners check product labels on the petfoods they buy, and 42% are concerned about their pet having food intolerances or allergies, according to the survey.