According to the latest data from
, sales of petfood and supplies continue to rise in spite of
the recession. Sales will hit US$27.5 billion in 2009, an
increase of 2.9% over 2008.
Over the past five years sales have increased 19%, or 3%
after adjusting for inflation, and are expected to grow at just
less than 3% per annum through 2014, predicts Mintel. Research
conducted by Del Monte Foods, reported in Ad Age (May 25 2009),
found that consumers were more likely to sacrifice on their own
food before cutting back on petfood.
Dog food dollar sales continue to rise slowly as dog owners
seek out what they perceive as superior nutrition and quality
ingredients. Mintel estimates an increase of 3% in 2009 to
US$9.8 billion. Over the past five years, dog food sales have
Sales of cat food have risen slowly but steadily over the
past four years. Segment sales will reach US$6.6 billion in
2009, an increase of 2.4%. Over the last five years, sales have
Sales of food for pets other than cats and dogs has grown
less consistently and more slowly overall than dog and cat
food. Mintel estimates that sales will increase 1.3% in 2009.
Over the last five years sales have increased 5%.
Despite the struggling economy, sales of petfood have
generally held strong, as most pet owners remain committed to
feeding and caring for their pets - often looked at as family
members. The continued slow but steady growth of category
dollar sales has been influenced by a variety of factors,
according to data from Mintel and
Pet owners remain willing to pay a premium for specialized
petfoods that promise a variety of benefits for pets and,
increasingly, appeal to the broader food and nutrition
attitudes of the owner.
Inflation. The food commodity inflation that has pushed up
prices all over the supermarket in recent years has also
impacted the petfood aisle.
Recall after effects.
The recall of petfoods in the spring of 2007 did little to slow
the growth of the industry and, if anything, has motivated more
pet owners to seek out what they perceive to be safer
alternatives, sometimes at a higher price.
While some pet owners have gravitated to new premium brands
promising superior nutrition for their animals, others have
been forced to, or chosen to, economize. According to Mintel's
recent consumer research, a quarter of pet owners claim to have
switched to less expensive petfood due to the economy. A chief
beneficiary of this down-trading has been retailers' private
Store brands have made market share gains in most segments
of petfood and supplies. Notably private label has made solid
gains in dog and cat food, which can be a significant annual
expenditure, particularly in households with multiple
Dog food sales have experienced solid growth in the past two
years, as dog owners have displayed increased consciousness of
ingredients and a greater interest in foods that promise a
natural, healthy balance. Brands such as Goodlife Recipe from
Mars Inc. and Beneful from Purina have gained share. In
addition, brands that cite scientific credentials and research,
such as Iams and Purina ONE, have remained strong
Dollar sales of cat food have continued to rise slowly over
the past four years as manufacturers of mainstream brands have
offered specialized meals for finicky cats. In many cases these
premium priced foods have also featured natural and specific
ingredients such as wild salmon and garden greens.
Beyond the mainstream dog and cat food market, ample
opportunities exist for smaller, more narrowly focused
competitors in pet specialty stores, which offer a broader
selection of superpremium brands with highly specialized
varieties that target pet life-stages, lifestyles, health
issues, ingredient preferences, even specific breeds, says
Mintel. Many retail channels are starting to compete as well. A
broad array of retailers carry petfood and supplies.
Supermarkets, mass merchants, and pet specialty stores account
for most sales, but other channels registering sales include
warehouse clubs, dollar stores, natural food stores,
convenience stores, drug stores, farm supply stores, home
centers and several others.
According to Mintel's GNPD, petfood new product activity has
been heaviest over the last few years in the area of dog snacks
and treats, which have accounted for roughly half of all
products launched. New snacks have come from both leading
petfood companies and literally hundreds of other competitors,
many of them concentrating on all-natural products. Most new
pet snacks and treats also embody the emphasis on highly
specific pet health and wellness benefits that has overtaken
the entire petfood industry. Functional food claims include
such benefits as dental care, immune system support, digestive
health, skin health and joint health. Natural ingredients are
common, as are antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and
The highest growth pet market segments - natural and organic
- overlap with retailer trends. Petco recently announced an
agreement with TerraCycle to test a petfood bag recycling
program in Petco locations. Walmart has their O-Organics line
and many grocery stores now feature pet products in their
organic food aisles. The natural/organic trend dovetails with
new consumer sense of temperance, value and social
responsibility. Smart manufacturers will position pets as a
primary connection to the earth and all things natural with
their ingredients, marketing and packaging!
Alternative petfood segment performance
US sales of natural and organic pet products
Top 20 marketing claims