Sales growth of pet treats continues to outpace growth of the more mature pet food market and growth of pet supplies in general. In the brand new report Pet Treats and Chews in the U.S., 3rd Edition, market research firm Packaged Facts estimates U.S. retail sales of pet treats will reach $6.7 billion by the end of 2019, up from $6.5 billion last year.
Among a range of industry developments, innovation and market growth have notably been fueled by human-food trends.
"Pet treats have come a long way in the past twenty years, with the aisles of pet stores closely resembling the snack aisles of human foods at supermarkets and products positioned as better-for-your-pet," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "Limited-ingredient products, grain-free options, and superfood ingredients are all in high demand, with innovative new product entries hitting the market on a regular basis."
Product innovation featuring cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient in cannabis derived from hemp, in products for humans and pets alike has arguably been the most discussed trend of 2019.
"CBD, or cannabidiol, supplements are in high demand in human markets, credited with treating conditions ranging from anxiety to asthma. The use of CBD has crossed over into the pet market, with usage spiking after the passage of the most recent Farm Bill in December 2018, which took a significant step towards separating hemp and hemp-derived CBD from marijuana-based products," said Sprinkle.
Pet owner interest in CBD centers on relieving anxiety and stress issues in pets, but owners also view CBD as an alternative treatment for issues including pain management and allergies. Perhaps not surprising given the massive consumer interest in and media coverage of CBD supplements, Packaged Facts' 2019 Survey of Pet Owners reveals that 11% of dog owners and 8% of cat owners have used cannabis (CBD/hemp) supplements or treats for their pets.
The momentum behind CBD pet treats is part of consumers' ongoing interest in functional treats in general. Pet owners have long turned to functional treats to address a wide variety of health concerns, essentially "killing two birds with one stone" by providing their pets with a tasty reward while at the same time treating their health conditions. For many pet owners, functional treats provide more value for the money than indulgent treats or health supplements alone.
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.