The future of cat food and treats: trends to watch

Industry experts discuss the possible directions for cat food and treats.

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A study conducted by AFB International determined any cat food with gravy was preferred and sustained interest. | nektarstock,
A study conducted by AFB International determined any cat food with gravy was preferred and sustained interest.
| nektarstock,

Cat food and treat trends closely follow dog food and treat trends, largely due to the overarching attitudes of pet owners. Whether their furry friend is a dog or a cat, those with pets consider their animals to be part of their families, and that belief influences what all customers look for on pet store shelves in similar ways.

Present and future trends in the cat food segment

“As a manufacturer, we constantly monitor all of the trends in pet foods and treats,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president of customer brands and co-manufacturing at American Nutrition. “We see pet parents looking for unique ingredients, clean labels and more natural products for their pets — similar to what they look for for themselves. A healthy, nutritious and palatable pet food is very important to both the pet parent and pet.”

American nutrition cat kibble

American Nutrition plans to add plenty of new formulas in treats and cans for both cats and dogs in 2019, in addition to new kibble formulas falling in line with unique ingredients and trends. | Courtesy of American Nutrition

Affordable premiumization is also being seen in cat food, as is sustainability, which is a hot topic across the pet food industry at large.

“Something we’ve already begun to see across the pet food category is making premium-quality food at an affordable price point,” said Adrian Pettyan, CEO and co-founder of Caru Pet Food Company. “Another trend we’re noticing is an affinity for more sustainable packaging options.” In fact, Caru’s line of cat stews, as with the dog stews, has been packaged with sustainability in mind. “All of our dog and cat stews, as well as our bone broths, are packaged in BPA-free Tetra Pak cartons, which are made from up to 70 percent renewable materials that are post-consumer recyclable,” said Pettyan.

caru cat stew group

Caru has expanded in the cat food space with cat stews, which the company based off its popular dog stews. The company says the stews have so far been the perfect complement to Caru’s cat treats. | Courtesy of Caru Pet Food

Petcurean has recently launched four grain-free cat stews and patés, under its Now Fresh brand, and also chose Tetra Pak cartons for its packaging due in part to sustainability considerations.

petcurean now fresh cat stew

Petcurean’s grain-free cat stews can be served as treats, toppers, or complete and balanced meals, providing cat owners with the flexibility they want to customize their pets’ diets. | Courtesy of Petcurean

Health and wellness: an overarching sentiment in cat trends

Whatever new trend emerges next for cat food, industry experts agree that pet owners’ concerns for the health and wellness of their cats will play a significant role.

"Pet parents will continue to turn a critical eye on ingredient labels, and their unrelenting desire for healthier options is not going away anytime soon, nor should it,” said Alisha Brassard, Petcurean new product development and innovation manager. “High-quality, nutritionally dense foods that provide balanced diets for all cats and dogs will continue to grow, as will organic and non-GMO product offerings.”

For the full companion article, "New cat food, treat products reflect pet ownership,” published in the July 2018 issue of Petfood Industry magazine, see

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