Functional pet nutraceuticals: Emerging category in Mexico

Pet nutraceuticals are a small but promising market for Mexico, defined by natural ingredients and innovation but also challenged by consumer confusion.

Courtesy of K9 Master Dog Nutrition

The nutraceuticals category for pets is relatively small in Mexico. It is still a nascent market, yet with promising prospects.

Nutraceuticals are often confused with pet vitamin products, as the difference between them is unclear to most consumers. According to information from K9 Master Dog Nutrition (K9), a dog food company based in Guadalajara, Mexico, a nutraceutical product combines nutritional and pharmaceutical products. In other words, a food product that provides medical or health benefits simultaneously, including prevention or treatment of diverse ailments. Typically, one definitive attribute of nutraceuticals is the natural origin of most of its ingredients. 

K9 Master Dog Nutrition innovating through strategic alliances

In October 2021, K9 launched five different formulations of nutraceutical products for dogs in the local market: KRES-K, designed for growth promotion, gestation and immune system support; Show-K skin and hair for dogs suffering cancer, burns, scarring and for enhancing the overall nervous system; Bio-K probiotics and prebiotics focused on treating sanguinolent gastroenteritis, infectious or osmotic diarrheas; Geriatri-K for senior dogs to improve mobility, mental health and weight; and Sporty-K for active dogs to enhance vitality, endurance and fertility.

Strategic alliances are the key to develop nutraceuticals that can disrupt the market. According to Victor Alvarado, CEO and founder of K9, his company launched such innovations using high-quality ingredients from renowned multinationals such as DSM and Alltech. For example, K9’s family of nutraceuticals contain Stay C 50, a patented ingredient from DSM derived from vitamin C yet superior to ascorbic acid, according to the company. Stay C 50 is used to support the immune system and prevent periodontitis, a risk factor for several diseases in dogs. 

Challenge for nutraceutical producers: Convincing consumers

Because nutraceuticals may be confused with pharmaceutical products, dog owners are not inclined to buy them without a veterinary or other professional recommendation. Therefore, the nutraceutical category is likely limited by the frequency of visits to veterinarians. 

Yet, it is worth noting that nutraceutical products focus more on the prevention of sicknesses; hence, suggesting safe use for dog owners without a medical prescription. The challenge for nutraceutical producers is to educate local dog owners about the products’ effectiveness and their lack of side effects to reach the full potential of this promising category.

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