In conjunction with Petfood Industry’s annual industry trends feature, we asked for a look at the resulting products that might appear due to said trends in 2020. Here’s what David Sprinkle, research director at MarketResearch.com and publisher at Packaged Facts, as well as regular contributor to Petfood Industry magazine, had to say:
“Given peak levels of consumer skepticism about the healthfulness of highly processed foods, kibble will remain under siege,” he said. “Expect continued non-kibble innovation, including new formats and textural combinations that combine the convenience versus indulgence merits of dry versus wet pet foods. Also expect re-inclusion of and front-of-pack emphasis on quality/ancient grains, both because grain free has had its day as a market growth and product differentiation driver, and because of concerns raised over grain-free and DCM (canine dilated cardiomyopathy, a significant subject in the latter half of 2019).
“More generally, because the bulk of pet food innovation has been in the natural/organic and whole/specifically sourced food ingredient vein, expect counterbalancing innovation in functional, health solution pet formulas — potentially in dedicated brand lines, so health solution SKUs don’t get lost in the shuffle,” said Sprinkle. “Especially expect more emphasis on pet weight and obesity issues, including calories and portion control (echoing human market trends). Worth considering for functional innovation: ‘longevity’ (not senior) pet food formulas for all pet ages beyond puppy/kitten, which would address a top-tier pet owner concern plus include calorie control without the negativity of ‘weight control/loss.’”
For more indulgence-oriented innovation, according to Sprinkle, look to “chewy/gooey center food or snack bars (à la Kellogg’s NutriGrain) for taste/textural interest, opening up a mother lode of possibilities for rotation diets, latest superfood ingredients and seasonal/limited edition runs (echoing human packaged food and snack product trends), plus travel/portability and stocking stuffer suitability to promote product trial.”
And one final thought that certainly bounces off a current human trend: canned pet food pâtés and mousses made with lab-cultured meat.
Read the companion article, "Quality, sustainability to dominate 2020 pet food trends,” published in the January 2020 issue of Petfood Industry magazine.