Human-pet bond boosts demand for healthy dog, cat food

Pet food technology and social media can help dog and cat food companies educate and connect with consumers.

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photo by Blas |
photo by Blas |

The bond people form with their pets may be a valuable tool in fulfilling pet food companies’ missions to provide nutritious diets to dogs, cats and other pets. Sandy Robins, pet lifestyle author and consultant, will discuss how pet food companies can benefit from the bond between pets and humans, along with how technology can facilitate this, during her presentation at Petfood Forum Asia 2018, March 28 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“I believe the human-animal bond is the number one ingredient in pet food because feeding a furry family member is no different to connecting with human family members over food,” she said. “It’s all about love and wanting what is best for them.”

Her number one tip for pet food companies wishing to tap into this bond is to focus on the connection between food and health.

“It was nutritionist Adelle Davis who back in the '60s started focusing on the message ‘You Are What You Eat,’ making the connection between food and good health,” said Robins. “And, with current pet food trends mimicking human health/food trends, I think pet food companies that sell the message that their pet food is synonymous to pet care are echoing Davis’s message, which is one that directly endorses the human-animal bond.”

Social media and pet food technology

To spread this message of the connection between pet food and health, social media can give dog and cat food producers a direct line to consumers. However, different generations tend toward certain social media companies, noted Robins.

“Pet food manufacturers needs to be on the platforms their pet parent customers use,” she said. “Currently Instagram is the platform for Millennials and Facebook is drawing an older demographic. So, manufacturers really need to be on both. I will be focusing on this in my presentation. Pet food manufacturers are the best people to educate about their foods and to this end the pet food manufacturer’s website is a really important hub and all social media activity needs to link to it too.”

Social media isn’t the only technology pet food companies can use to help people strengthen their bonds with their pets. The bond between people and their pets may only get stronger as pet food technology, such as smart bowls and cameras, allows pet owners to keep tabs on their tabbies and interact long-distance with their long dachshunds. Beyond emotional attachment, these technologies can also improve pet owners’ abilities to make sure their animals are getting healthy portions of the correct pet foods.

“I think pet technology generally is going to play an important role in the future,” Robins said. “It is already doing so. It’s not only about being alerted and able to re-order food from your smartphone when your stocks run low, but pet technology allows pet parents to monitor their pets 24/7.  Video cameras that monitor activity at the food bowl are very important. Microchip feeders that only open for a designated cat or dog allow pet parents to successfully feed individual diets in multi-pet households. This is huge as many pet parents give up special diets or life stage diets in desperation because they have been unsuccessful in feeding the correct food to the correct pet before pet technology started to rule the food bowl.”

Whether mediated by technology or not, the bond between people and pets can endure even through economic hard times.

“In times of recession, people will cut back on other things in their lives first,” Robins said. “This is what happened in the more recent recession around 2008. They may feed a cheaper food and cut down on treats and toys if they have to. But that love connection that drives the human-animal bond will never fade.”

Petfood Forum Asia 2018

Hear more from Robins about how to increase online pet food sales at Petfood Forum Asia 2018, during her presentation, “A Recipe For Success: Why The Human-Animal Bond Is Really The #1 Ingredient In Pet Food.” Petfood Forum Asia is a conference for the Southeast Asia pet food and pet treat industry featuring industry experts presenting the latest research and information on the pet food market, pet nutrition, pet food palatability, processing, new product development and more. Attendees are provided the ability socialize and network with industry peers from throughout Southeast Asia and to meet those hard to reach prospects, have project update meetings on site with customers and meet new leads through networking events.

Topics presented at Petfood Forum Asia 2018 will include process solutions for current pet food trends, creating value with alternative protein sourcing, increasing pet food sales with social media and much more.

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