Nestle Purina petfood has been in the China market since 2003. Gloria Xu, marketing manager for Purina in China, says China’s pet population is the second largest in the world, behind the US. However, she said, commercial petfood coverage is the lowest in the world.
Retail sales of petfood in China increased more than 31% by value from 2012 to 2013, reaching $4.3 billion, according to Mintel, a research firm.
Xu, in an interview with Ad Age, said only 5% of dogs and 6% of cats are eating commercial petfood, because many dog owners cook for their dogs. She said some people mix commercial dog food with human food to feed to their dogs.
In China, Xu said Purina uses social media and its web presence to educate the population about pet ownership and how to care for their animals. Purina Online Academy sends its subscribers information, for example, the importance of giving dogs more water in warm weather, and how to keep pets safe at Chinese New Year celebrations when fireworks are used.
Purina’s Homeless but Not Worthless campaign works to prevent abandonment and encourage adoption. China’s large cities see a lot of stray dogs and cats, and this campaign hopes to change that.
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.