Infographic: 4 rising, 3 declining novel pet food proteins

Discover why pet food industry analysts believe certain novel proteins grow in pet food popularity, while others decline.

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image by Gorsh25, BigStockPhoto; created with Piktochart
image by Gorsh25, BigStockPhoto; created with Piktochart

Pet food industry professionals frequently ask James Restivo, director of client development at market research group Nielsen, about novel protein ingredients for dog and cat food, he said during the opening session of Petfood Innovation Workshop.

“A couple of them are growing, …but to be transparent and just, many of them are declining right now,” he said.

Restivo presented Nielsen data that identified quail, rabbit, venison and elk as rising novel proteins (See data in infographic below). Meanwhile, alligator, kangaroo and boar declined in usage.

Why certain novel dog and cat foods are popular

While use of these non-beef, non-chicken, non-fish ingredients remains small compared to conventional proteins, these rare meats can help a pet food stand out and help pets with allergies. However, novel proteins must also meet other criteria besides being uncommon, he said.

“So what I would tell you about novel protein is it is less about the novelty of the name with the animal itself, and it's more about the idea of what is that animal adding to the food?”

Using meat as the first ingredient in pet food formulations has grown in demand, he said, but consumers have become more discerning about what their dog and cats eat. That means that a protein ingredients needs to meet nutrition, health, ethical and sustainability concerns.

“I have meat as a first ingredient, now I need to know everything about that meat,” he said. “Where did it come from? How was it raised? How is it sustainable? And we are starting to see that in the marketplace.”

People want to know more of the backstory to the animal that made that meat, which holds true for novel proteins. Pet owners also want to know how the protein serves as a functional ingredient.

“Is it a better quality source?” he said. “Is it a mineral source? Is it a more sustainable source? If you can answer that question, that's when these novel protein starts to move center on the packaging.”

As consumers continue to refine their demands, future novel proteins may need to meet these same criteria of nutrition and sustainability.

3 food trends influencing dog, cat food products

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Infographic 4 Rising 3 Falling Novel Pet Food Proteins

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