The majority of pet owners tend to liken their animals’ needs to their own, meaning recent consumer developments such as “clean” eating and snacking trends are being integrated into the diets of cats, dogs, and other popular pets, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

GlobalData’s 2017 pet food trends report highlights how humanization is creating an innovation platform from which to launch products targeted towards pet owners, providing brands with routes to premiumization, as human trends enter the pet food market.

“Owners are seeking out pet products which they identify with,” said Melanie Felgate, senior consumer analyst for GlobalData. “For example, if a pet owner’s consumption habits feature lots of snacks, they will buy lots of snacking treats for their animal, or if the owner eats only gluten-free food, the same goes for their furry friend.”

Considering two-thirds of consumers globally now own a pet, according to GlobalData’s 2016 Q4 survey, brands may respond to the evolving lifestyle choices and habits of their owners to capitalize on this lucrative market.

Pet snacking trend

Pet snacking, for example, presents a key opportunity for pet food brands, according to GlobalData. Humans no longer rely on the traditional three meals a day, with 72 percent snacking at least occasionally between meals, according to GlobalData’s 2015 Q4 global consumer survey. This sentiment rises to 82 percent among pet owners specifically, with the main motivation to snack cited as being to treat or reward oneself.

“Snacking habits are being passed on, as owners look to treat their pets while also indulging themselves,” Felgate said. “Given snacking levels vary by day-part, there is a chance to broaden consumption occasions by targeting pet snacks towards specific times of day. Breakfast biscuits explicitly target morning consumption, for example; a concept which could also work in the pet food space to target morning dog walks.”

Clean eating pet food trend

Another humanized trend identified by GlobalData is clean eating. The clean movement is growing as consumers seek natural products, free from artificial ingredients, chemicals and toxins. With almost half of pet owners surveyed by GlobalData in Q1 2017 highly attentive to the ingredients used in pet products, an opportunity may exist for brands to utilize clean messaging and cues to capitalize on the trend, and address the needs of growing numbers of consumers seeking a cleaner lifestyle for themselves and their pets.

Felgate comments: “Pet food brands are moving into the clean space by using natural ingredients, promoting the use of single protein sources, and using more plant-based ingredients in formulations. Purina Beyond puree in the US, for example, contains only natural, human-grade ingredients, with fruit and vegetable based flavors such as beef and berry, and chicken and