Pandemic influenced 47% of new dog acquisitions in US

More than one third of those pet owners increased their purchasing during the pandemic, with 35% reporting that they spent more on their pets in the past 12 months than the preceding year.

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Pet ownership increased in the U.S. during the ongoing pandemic, and the recently released 2021-2021 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey put numbers on that growth. APPA analysts estimated that U.S. pet ownership rose 3%, from 67% in the last survey to 70%.

According to the biennial APPA report, 14% of total respondents, both pet owners and non-pet owners, got a new pet during the pandemic. Many of those decisions were influenced by the pandemic. By animal, COVID-19 influenced people to obtain new saltwater fish (60%), dogs (47%), birds (46%), small animals (46%), cats (40%), freshwater fish (34%), reptiles (27%) and horses (27%).

Considering both new and established pet owners, 32% of Millennials share their homes with a companion animal, followed by Boomers at 27% and Gen X at 24%. 

More than one third of those pet owners increased their purchasing during the pandemic, with 35% reporting that they spent more on their pets in the past 12 months than the preceding year. Online shopping accounted for more of that spending too. Survey respondents reported increasing online pet product shopping from 72% in the prior year to 86% of responses in this year’s study. Likewise, brick-and-mortar retail pet product shopping decreased to 41% from 60% pre-pandemic.

10 top pet food companies headquartered in the US

From previous reporting: The June edition of Petfood Industry features its annual Top Pet Food Companies report, highlighting the top pet food companies from around the world. Companies headquartered in the U.S. dominate the top of the overall world rankings, which are based on annual revenue, including behemoths Mars Petcare Inc. and Nestlé Purina PetCare, which rank one and two, respectively.

How do the 10 top pet food companies headquartered in the U.S. rank? Read on to find out.

10 top pet food companies based in the U.S., as ranked by 2020 annual revenue, million USD

  1. Mars Petcare Inc., US$18,085.0
  2. Nestlé Purina PetCare, US$15,422.0
  3. J.M. Smucker, US$2,937.5
  4. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, US$2,525.0
  5. General Mills, US$1,694.6
  6. Diamond Pet Foods, US$1,500.0
  7. Spectrum Brands/United Pet Group, US$951.0
  8. Simmons Pet Food, US$800.0
  9. WellPet, US$700.0
  10. Alphia, US$580.0

Year-over-year, three of the 10 top pet food companies headquartered in the U.S. shifted within the rankings, with:

  • General Mills overtaking Diamond Pet Foods and 
  • Central Garden & Pet being knocked down one spot among U.S.-based companies by newly formed Alphia. Alphia was formed in June 2020 by the unification of C.J. Foods Inc. and American Nutrition Inc.

These top pet food companies showed an increase in revenue from 2019 to 2020, with the exceptions of Mars Petcare Inc., General Mills, Diamond Pet Foods and WellPet, for which revenue remained flat, according to research and company data returns.

Two of the 10 top companies headquartered in the U.S. include pet food subsidiaries. 

  1. Nestlé Purina PetCare owns both Merrick Pet Care, also based in the U.S., which grossed US$485.0 million in 2020 revenue and Lily’s Kitchen, based in the United Kingdom, with 2020 revenue of US$105.0 million.
  2. J.M. Smucker owns U.S.-based Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and Natural Balance Pet Foods. The former saw 2020 revenue of US$800.0 and the latter, US$220.0. Of note, however, is that in December 2020, the company entered into a definitive agreement to sell Natural Balance to investment firm Nexus Capital Management LP, in a cash transaction. The acquisition will be Nexus' first pet product company.

Geographically, half of the 10 top pet food companies in the U.S. are based in Kansas or Missouri, and the remainder are scattered around the country in Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennesse. Three of the companies -- Mars Petcare Inc., Nestlé Purina PetCare and Hill’s Pet Nutrition -- distribute their products worldwide, with the others on the list having a range of distribution regions.

Purchase key data on leading US pet food producers

The information is sold as a downloadable spreadsheet, allowing customers to sort, filter and analyze the data to suit your specific needs. Data points include, where available, mailing address, type of products offered, brands, number of employees, number of facilities and annual sales from 2017-2020. The companies are ranked by 2020 revenue.

Participate in the Top Pet Food Companies survey

The Petfood Industry Top Pet Food Companies project annually surveys pet food companies, always with an aim of expanding the reach and scope of the companies within the rankings. To be considered for inclusion in the yearly rankings, please contact [email protected]. The data is gathered each year through a variety of methods, including direct company contact (a survey is emailed to participating companies), in-depth research and estimates.

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