Pet owners explain why they buy organic dog and cat food

Buyers of organic pet food shared the reasons behind their choices with Packaged Facts.

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(Brian Lasenby |
(Brian Lasenby |

Pet food customers who choose organic dog and cat food have specific reasons for their purchasing decisions, said David Sprinkle, publisher and research director at Packaged Facts, during his presentation at Petfood Forum 2018.

Buyers of organic pet food shared the reasons behind their choices with Packaged Facts in the industry research company’s January/ February 2018 Survey of Pet Owners.

Why pet owners buy organic dog and cat food

Pet owners told Packaged Facts that they buy organic pet food for the following reasons:

  • it is their specialty
  • their reputation is everything for them
  • would not risk making false claims
  • they are likely to put more care into producing the food
  • organic = they care more
  • people that make organic foods tend to be more caring of what people are eating
  • extra care is taken over just the bottom line
  • they have the best interests of our pets in mind
  • read the ingredients; they don’t use chemicals
  • they are producing non-engineered food
  • without additives or fillers
  • they use grain and real meat not byproducts
  • less chance of unhealthy ingredients and contamination
  • the ingredients are natural and non-GMO
  • organic avoids antibiotics and hormones
  • organic labels always indicate quality
  • organic I believe means that it has strict standards for production
  • they have government certification

Natural and organic pet foods not more trusted

Although natural pet food has become the gold standard in dog and cat food marketing, pet owners don’t necessarily trust the quality of natural and organic pet foods more than other varieties, said Sprinkle. Packaged Facts survey found that 64 percent of pet owners neither agree nor disagree with the statement that they can trust the quality of pet foods from organic or natural pet food companies, which was similar to trust in both mass market and regional pet food companies.

Consumers may not necessarily think organic or natural pet food is superior, but pet owners will be swayed by their animals’ apparent enjoyment.

“When we start looking at sort of the natural/organic positioning, including without GMO ingredients, it actually is not as important to pet owners overall as that the pet food has a taste pets like,” said Sprinkle. “So, whenever you’re talking about food products and you get too far from taste, you are making a mistake.”

Pet owners trust vets and buy recommended dog, cat food

In a survey conducted by Packaged Facts in the United States, pet owners expressed the greatest degree of trust in pet food information from their veterinarians.

“Dog owners turn to vets for food advice nearly as much as for medication, more so for cats,” said Sprinkle.

Considering the importance of veterinary advice to pet owners, it’s no surprise that pet superstores increasingly house veterinary service providers, or that Mars continues buying veterinary services providers, said Sprinkle. For example, Mars Petcare recently acquired the veterinary group Linnaeus, adding it to Mars vet portfolio of VCA, Banfield Pet Hospital, Bluepearl and Pet Partners.

Petfood Forum 2019

Petfood Forum is the not-to-be-missed trade show event for pet food professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas and do business with one another and with the industry's leading pet food manufacturers and suppliers. Petfood Forum 2019 will take place at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on April 29 – May 1, 2019.

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