Back in 2011, before the word “holistic” was popular in the Mexican pet food environment, Victor Alvarado, CEO of K9 Master Dog Nutrition, disrupted with this unexplored market niche.
K9 was the first manufacturer producing this type of dog food in Mexico, even before the big international brands launched their product lines in the local market. Moreover, K9 was one step ahead, as it was entering when premium and superpremium offerings were starting their market journey.
The long wait paid off for K9. The brand grew considerably in Mexico and is further gaining recognition from veterinarians and pet food nutritionists. Currently, K9 products are available at various points of sale across Mexico and online.
In recent years, the brand launched its ultra-premium line Elite, with a cutting-edge formulation containing raw meat, egg, omega fatty acids, vegetables, organic minerals and various ingredients that provide a holistic claim to the product.
Although still a market niche, holistic pet food is gaining popularity in Mexico. As these products are usually the priciest, consumers likely to buy it seem less sensitive to their prices.
According to our research, in general, shoppers of holistic pet food are dog owners whose pets manifested allergies to regular pet food products. Further, after trying a few brands, such shoppers became knowledgeable of pet food formulations and shifted to holistic alternatives.
There is no information on the proportion of dogs suffering from food allergies in the country. Regardless, there is likely a sizeable segment of dog owners who can afford upgrading to holistic pet foods.
In terms of the competitive environment, there are just a few other brands marketed as either holistic or natural – for example, Tier and Lideratto. At least in Mexico, holistic and natural pet food products are treated indistinctively.
As for imported products, the available brands include Earthborn (marketed as holistic food), Blue Wilderness, Instinct and Prairie, among others.
Although the main constraint for holistic products to further develop is price, the category has good prospects. As more dog owners with food-sensitive pets continue experimenting with several pet food brands, eventually, a good portion of dogs will likely become long-term consumers of holistic pet food.
Iván Franco is the founder of Triplethree International and has collaborated on hundreds of research projects for several consumer goods industries. He was granted the Global Consultant of the Year award by Euromonitor International and authored the book 17 Market Strategies for Growth (in Spanish).
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