Early in 2015, a Petfood Industry report showed that products claiming natural or organic status were high on consumers’ must-have lists. Most specialty pet foods fall under the “natural” or “organic” headings.
But what does “natural” mean when it comes to pet food? According to a recent Petfood Industry blog from Melissa Brookshire, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines provide a precise regulation surrounding the use of natural claims made on pet food packaging. Remember that treats require the same adherence to these guidelines. That being said, it is important to understand that class action litigation is occurring on a regular basis in the human food industry as well as the pet food industry surrounding natural claims. So even if you are in complete compliance with AAFCO guidelines, this does not mean you are protected from potential litigation.
The natural pet food category has rebounded significantly from the Great Recession. Looking ahead, the sales growth of natural pet food is expected to significantly outpace that of pet food overall, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 14.6% for the 2014-19 period, similar to that of the 2010-14 period.
“Natural remains pretty much the only game in town when it comes to high-growth dog and cat food items,” said Maria Lange, senior product manager of GfK’s Retail and Technology team, in November 2014.
Specialty pet foods and treats continue to outperform other segments of the pet food industry, leading to significant market growth and opportunities for manufacturers looking to expand.
While cat trends continue, the pandemic has added to overall slow-growth treatment of the cat food market.
Premiumization and humanization, as well as automation, fueled continued operation growth in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.