The movement of human trends into new pet foods and treats follows contradictory paths as pet owners want their pets to enjoy the both hedonistic and healthy foods inspired by human cuisine. At Superzoo 2019, some pet treats offered flavors and designs inspired by human trends like food trucks and café culture. On the other hand, some new pet foods and treats featured packaging and marketing claims first seen at human supplement shops and on supermarket health food aisles. As in human consumables, one set of new pet foods went for the holistic, natural vibe, while another went for full-on, extreme flavor, or at least that’s the way they were marketed. In both trends, while the recipes were formulated for dogs’ and cats’ digestive systems, their marketing targeted human tastes and desires.
Food trucks have evolved a long way in human cuisine over the past few decades from their roots as roach coaches slinging cheap grub at work sites. Now, as gourmet, on-trend artisanal eateries on wheels, food trucks can stand their own against sit-down restaurants in many major cities worldwide. Yet still, some of the tastiest items associated with food trucks, and street food in general, do not rank highly on health fanatics’ lists. In other words, dog owners can’t share a tangy, sweet plate of Carolina-style BBQ pulled pork with their dog without throwing that dog’s diet way out-of-wack. Pet treats stepped into cross the divide between food truck feasting and pet nutrition. Irish Dog Foods, for example introduced several food truck-inspired dog treat formulations at SuperZoo, including Carolina BBQ, pastrami and beef taco.
While food trucks may be relatively new on the foodie scene, coffee shops have been around for centuries. Similar to food trucks though, cafes are generally not a place where people can share a drink with their dogs. Plus, dogs’ ancient wolf ancestors likely didn’t hunt pumpkin spice deer. However, the modern dog can enjoy various coffee shop themed treats. For example, Sunshine Mills introduced the Evolve Latte dog biscuit at SuperZoo, which come in flavors including pumpkin spice and caramel apple. The dog treats are shaped like to-go coffee cups.
While some pet treats modeled themselves after human indulgences, other new products at SuperZoo focused on health and wellness, right down to including trendy cannabis-derived ingredients. For example, Pet Releaf’s Boom Bar was one of several dog snacks modeled after human energy bars. The Boom Bars, labeled as dog supplement bars, used hemp protein and organic ingredients, like many of the energy bars eaten by SuperZoo attendees.
Likewise, the sports drinks imbibed by dehydrated SuperZoo attendees bore many similarities with new pet beverages fortified with vitamins and electrolytes. One of them, Doggie Water, came in both concentrate and ready-to-use form with flavors like bacon and chicken.
Beyond products specifically modeled after human health foods, many more pet foods used ingredient types and supplements popular in human wellness diets. Packaging for the new Hill’s BioActive dog foods promoted the products as high protein with fish oil, prebiotics, healthy oils, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants.
Learn more about new dog, cat and other pet foods and treats with Petfood Industry's Pet Food Product Database. Along with new consumer products, the database also lists pet food manufacturing, packaging and processing equipment.
Tim Wall covers the dog, cat and other pet food industries as senior reporter for WATT Global Media. His work has appeared in Live Science, Discovery News, Scientific American, Honduras Weekly, Global Journalist and other outlets. He holds a journalism master's degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a bachelor's degree in biology.
Wall served in the Peace Corps in Honduras from 2005 to 2007, where he coordinated with the town government of Moroceli to organize a municipal trash collection system, taught environmental science, translated for medical brigades and facilitated sustainable agriculture, along with other projects.
Contact Wall via https://www.wattglobalmedia.com/contact-us/
By Lindsay Beaton
Whether you’re looking to enter the pet food world or have recently crossed the bridge from human CPG to pet food, here are some things to consider as you grow your business.
By Lindsay Beaton
As pet owners continue to ask more of pet food packaging, the sustainability movement rises to the top of challenges being addressed.