Overweight, obesity, diabetes and many other ailments are the next generation of challenges for pet owners, veterinarians and the overall pet food industry in Latin America.
In terms of product development, the pet food industry, at least in Latin America, has remained quiet in the past five years. With some exceptions, most producers have not launched noticeable changes in pet food product development and formulations that seek to prevent or support the treatment of such ailments.
There are already several superpremium brands and products on the market that target obese and overweight pets, and they seem to work adequately. However, those might be insufficient.
According to industry sources, pet overweight is no longer an isolated topic, but a generalized problem affecting an increasing number of pets in the region.
In Mexico, there is no information on the number of obese dogs and cats. As one article states, 1 kilogram of overweight on a dog, or 1 for a cat, is equivalent to 7 and 25 kilos for humans, respectively.
Some experts argue that pet overweight is mostly attributable to the excess of pet food that owners are giving their pets; moreover, it has increased with the sedentary life that most urban pets now have.
One nutritionist shared with us that such factors might not be the only reason behind pet obesity. According to the expert, the extensive use of starch in the extrusion process for pet foods in Latin America is causing an excess of carbohydrate consumption, leading to overweight.
In any case, the conversation around pet overweight and obesity in the Latin American region will likely become more relevant if expenditures on pet health care rises.
As more health concerns appear in the region, pet food and additive manufacturers will likely start focusing more on the research and the development of new ingredients, to improve formulations that match the next trends.
In this context, we can expect the surge of a new pet food business cycle with multiple opportunities. However, to discover such market niches, the industry requires analysis and the discussion of new data and trends that are not yet visible.
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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