Pet food industry still on path of growth

Canada remained the largest importer.

Despite a record-setting performance in 2021 and 2022, U.S. pet food exports experienced a slight decline of around three percent in 2023, totaling $2.4 billion. Notably, Asian markets, which were previously sources of high growth, saw the most significant losses during this period.

Several factors contributed to this downturn. Global inflation, which persisted after 2023, combined with rising pet food prices in international markets, led consumers to prioritize affordability. While U.S. pet food is known for its quality, local brands in Asia swiftly adapted to changing consumer preferences by offering lower-priced alternatives.

However, demand for U.S. pet food remained robust in other regions. Canada remained the largest importer, with $1.2 billion in trade in 2023. There was also significant growth in Mexico and Jamaica, with increases of 16 percent and 16.9 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year.

The growing trend of pet ownership worldwide presents promising opportunities. As pet owners increasingly consider their companions as family members, the demand for safe and healthy pet food is on the rise. The Pet Food Institute (PFI), with support from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), actively promotes the safety and quality of U.S. pet food across seventeen countries through various marketing initiatives.

To address challenges in certain markets, PFI has applied for funding under the USDA Regional Agriculture Promotion Program (RAPP). This program focuses on non-traditional and emerging markets, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. PFI aims to enhance its efforts in countries like Brazil, South Korea and South Africa, complementing its existing work under the MAP.

U.S. pet food manufacturers are encouraged to explore market opportunities using resources such as the Market Tracker on the PFI website. Additionally, PFI's in-country representatives offer assistance in finding trusted importers and providing trade leads to interested U.S. companies.

For more information, visit www.petfoodinstitute.org/MAP or contact Dana Waters.

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