Brazil, the biggest pet food market in Latin America and third worldwide, is leading the region in some global pet food trends, such as so-called natural dog food.
Brazilian producer Mascote Fit is a newer company participating in the local natural dog food segment. The company is appealing to consumers differently from its competitors, providing a fresher and more human experience to dogs, it said.
Natural, customized dog food sold via subscription
First, Mascote Fit believes natural food is superior to any other type of dog nutrition. According to company information, in Brazil, nearly 50% of dogs suffer cancer during their lives. Meanwhile, certain dietary changes, such as the inclusion of vegetables, can prevent up to 40% of cancer cases in dogs, the company said.
Bruno Watanabe, the founder and CEO of Mascote Fit, said “real food” (as he calls natural dog food) is a key element for better health and longevity. He added that the company created its menus with the support of veterinarians and nutritionists to fulfill 100% of the nutritional requirements of pets.
Watanabe explained that the experience offered by Mascote Fit is different from other companies, as it follows a subscription-based service to help monitor the results for pets over time, including their weight. Furthermore, the company uses only natural ingredients that cook gently with steam to ensure the nutrients are well-preserved, he said. After the cooking process, the food is vacuum-sealed and deep-frozen. Delivery is as often as the consumer requests: weekly, every other week or monthly.
Watanabe's perception of the Brazilian pet food market overall is positive, as the pandemic boosted stray dog adoptions and the dog population in general. Due to these factors, his company grew 300% in the pandemic period.
Watanabe added that Mascote Fit’s food is tailor-made, as recipes are optimal for each life phase (senior dogs, for example), while the packaging contains the precise quantity of calories that the dog (or cat) requires every day. The company even prints a picture of each dog or cat on the package to engage with customers.
Benefits of entering the natural dog food segment
To Watanabe, Brazilians are the biggest dog lovers in the region. Local dog owners humanize dogs, and in several cases, pets replace parenthood.
“Local consumers buy strollers for dogs and birthday cakes,” he said. “We have daycares and other services for dogs that point toward an increasing humanization of pets in Brazil.”
Relative to the market size of the nascent dog food segment, Mascote Fit currently produces four tons a month. Yet, there are bigger competitors in the market; the major local natural dog food player produces more than 40 tons per month.
Humanization is making inroads in Brazil, foreshadowing a further increase in the natural dog food market in years to come.