With Blue Buffalo now selling in grocery stores and Tractor Supply releasing a superpremium pet food line, pet food specialty retailers and the brands that depend on them face challenges from mass marketed premium pet food. Pet food specialty retailers may survive the spread of premium pet food into mass markets and pet food e-commerce, if they succeed in five elements (see infographic below), according to Maria Lange, business group director of GfK, during her presentation at Petfood Forum 2017.
“Even though premiumization is going mass market, and we’re seeing premium pet food in all the other channels, it comes down to five key elements to help pet specialty stand out and be successful in the future,” Lange said.
"Pet savy future generations will look for home delivery," she said.
Millennial pet owners will only become more of a force in the dog and cat food market, she said. People who grew up with smart phones demand convenience. Pet food specialty retailers need to be both brick-and-mortar and mobile.
Although shopping online from the couch can be convenient, pet food buyers can be drawn in to corner pet food shops by the ambiance and personal assistance.
“Create an experience that customers want to come back to,” said Lange.
If the experience of coming to the store makes consumers feel like they’ve done something valuable and stimulating, they may keep coming back for that pet food buying adventure.
“Create something you can’t get online,” Lange said.
Unlike online, many more physical sensations come into play in a store. Premium dog and cat foods sold through the pet specialty retail channel can be seen, touched and smelled by pet owners before buying.
“Offer value next to specialty,” said Lange.
Although the pet food specialty retail channel may offer superpremium products, these need to be balanced with value items, she noted. Prices compared to online retailers must also be competitive.
5. High quality
“What customers have come to expect,” Lange said.
Natural has become the new normal in pet food, and customers expect even value priced products in pet specialty retail shops to be high quality.
Petfood Forum 2018
Learn more about trends in the dog and cat food market at Petfood Forum 2018.
Petfood Forum provides an opportunity 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 2018 will take place at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on April 23 -25, 2018.
Jack Hanna and Brian Hare, PhD have been selected as the keynote presenters for Petfood Forum 2018. Hanna will share his insights into the animal world and detail his globetrotting experiences. Hanna’s presentation will include animals. Hare’s research seeks to explain how dogs’ brains understand their surroundings using their sight, smell and other senses.