3 natural pet food categories driven by consumer demands

People around the world increasingly distrust synthetic ingredients in both pet and human food, fueling interest in natural ingredients.

Tim Wall Headshot Small Headshot
(ivandan | Bigstock.com)
(ivandan | Bigstock.com)

Natural pet food trends fall into three categories: Sourcing, Pure and pristine and Creative nature, said Sothara Sieng, marketing director for Diana Pet Food, during his presentation at Clextral’s Animal Feed Extrusion Course on October 16 in Saint-Etienne, France.

Pet food trends classification series

This article is part of a series exploring how pet food trends can be classified. Read more:

People around the world increasingly distrust synthetic ingredients in both pet and human food, fueling interest in natural materials. At the same time, people want to know how the products they consume affect the Earth and its inhabitants, said Sieng.

1. Sourcing

Consumers want to know that the ingredients used in their pets’ foods came from sources that meet their ethical and sustainable standards, he said. For these consumers, it is not enough to use quality ingredients. They also must know about the quality of life of the farmers, ranchers and any animals involved upstream in the process. Transparency is key to building consumer trust in pet food makers’ ingredient supplies.

Local sourcing of ingredients has also become a selling point for pet foods, he said, since it conveys freshness and trustworthiness. Likewise, people look for ingredients from specific regions, such as Yorkshire pork, cows from Oregon or New Zealand mackerel, since those regions are known for the quality of those particular products.

2. Pure and pristine

The fewer processed ingredients the better for many pet owners. Similarly, the fewer ingredients the better. If the ingredients aren’t being processed, then the pet food itself better not be either. Alternative processing methods such as freeze-drying and dehydration are example of this trend away from conventional production methods.

These sourcing trends have manifested in products such as Sweden’s Bozita, which markets their pet foods as being made entirely from Swedish ingredients. Beyond the pet food itself, packaging can exemplify the sourcing trend, such as with Lily’s Kitchen in the United Kingdom, which uses sustainable containers.

3. Creative nature

Pet owners also look for alternatives to conventional natural ingredients, which pushed pet food companies to get creative in their natural pet food formulations, Sieng said. Similarly, pet food manufacturers can meet consumers’ demands for alternative natural ingredients by using ancient grains, like quinoa, in place of corn, rice or other conventional crops.

The creative nature trend also manifests itself in movements away from meat-based protein sources to plants, he said. Fruits and vegetables form healthy parts of human diets, and consumers want those same benefits for their pets, although this may not be biologically valid. Some companies now produce vegan pet foods and treats, such as Vegan Pups’ carob-based dog cookies. Similarly, marketing for Granata Pet Food’s Pure Fruit Mix positions the product as like a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet, but with only fruits as the main ingredients.

What many of these alternative, and even conventional pet food ingredients, have in common is consumers’ beliefs that the items serve a purpose for the animals’ bodies. In other words, people want functional ingredients, not fillers. Various foodstuffs have been dubbed superfoods for their real or perceived health benefits above other consumables. A growing number of pet owners want the same superfoods in their pets’ diets that they include in their own.

Clextral Animal Feed Extrusion Course

Siang’s session started the Animal Feed Extrusion Course hosted by Clextral from October 16 to 18 in Saint-Etienne, France. Clextral manufactures pet food and animal feed extruders and other processing equipment, among other machines. While Clextral has been hosting extrusion courses in the United States for approximately 15 years, this was their first in France. Although it was the workshop’s maiden voyage, 38 people from 14 countries attended.

Page 1 of 531
Next Page