Infographic: 2 proven, 5 growing dog food trends in 2018

Established dog food trends showed different rates of growth from upcoming trends.

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Photo by Nina Podlesnyak
Photo by Nina Podlesnyak

In the US dog food market, there are proven trends or fast growing trends, and sales of products following these trends behave differently, said James Restivo, director of client development at market research group Nielsen, during the opening session of Petfood Innovation Workshop. Overall, health concerns inspired many of these dog food trends. Restivo presented Nielsen Product Insider data gathered during the 52 weeks ending March 3, 2018.

“The majority of the sales in the marketplace right now are free from animal digest [by-products] and meat is the first ingredient,” he said.

Promoting meat as the first ingredient and being free from animal byproducts are proven trends used by numerous dog foods in their marketing claims. While they make up the majority of sales, they aren’t growing as quickly as some types of dog food.

The sales growth rate of new trends compared to their percentage of total US dog food sales was nearly the inverse of established trends. In other words, product trends that made up the smallest percentage of sales tended to be the fastest growing.

“We’ve got some fast growing trends, such as all-natural ingredients, sweet potato, duck, so a novel protein source promoted by what it is doing for the food,” he said. “There’s free-from-GMO and even something like honey, a natural sweetener in the marketplace.”

Finding new rising pet food trends

Today’s rising trends may soon be established trends. Pet food companies can benefit from staying ahead of the competition in identifying the next hot pet food ingredient or style. To find innovative pet food trends, Restivo recommended looking to human food. The next foodie darling may be today’s decoration.

“Twenty years ago, I worked in a hotel banquet hall, and we used to set up a salad bar,” said Restivo. “And around the salad bar, pieces that people would actually eat, we would line kale as a garnish. Nobody would actually eat it, it's interesting that you walk down the marketplace today, just about everywhere has a kale salad.

“I would implore each and every one of you as you look for inspiration on pet food or pet food manufacturing or ingredients, look to the human side because those same humans feel if it's good enough for me, let me think about moving it to the pet side.”

2 Proven 5 Growing Dog Food Trends 2018 Infographic

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