8 health, premium trends in new pet foods: SuperZoo 2021

From the wildfire smoke screening the mountains near Las Vegas to the mask-clad attendees, much has changed since the last in-person SuperZoo. Yet many pet food and treat trends in 2021’s New Product Showcase continue from previous years.

Tim Wall Headshot Small Headshot
(SuperZoo 2021, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA | Tim Wall)
(SuperZoo 2021, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA | Tim Wall)

From the wildfire smoke-screened mountains near Las Vegas to the mask-clad attendees, much has changed since the last in-person SuperZoo. Yet many pet food and treat trends in the New Product Showcase continue from previous years. Health-related claims remained frequent among the new pet foods and treats, with products formulated to address a range of concerns from gut health to anxiety. Ingredient quality assurances, such as human-grade and organic certification, continued following the twin trends of premiumization and humanization. Environmental sustainability and animal welfare concerns also influenced new pet food product development.

SuperZoo 2021’s New Product Showcase trends round-up

These eight pet foods or treats represent trends that have guided pet food product development for years and continue to find new expression in SuperZoo 2021’s New Product Showcase.

1. Functional ingredients

Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters

This line of dog food toppers appears in four varieties, each with functional ingredients intended for specific health-related purposes.

For example, the Digestive Health recipe contains probiotics intended to help maintain a pet’s gut microbiome and other gut functions. Another formulation, Heart Health, addresses concerns fostered by the FDA investigation into dilated cardiomyopathy by including taurine and L-carnitine. The Joint Health formula contains glucosamine and chondroitin, while the skin and coat recipe uses omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

2. Human-grade

Remy’s Kitchen Superfoods for Dogs

This new dog food also contains a variety of functional ingredients, such as carrots, apples, turmeric, chia seeds, kale. The brand also promotes their products as made with human-grade ingredients, another ongoing trend.

3. High protein

Blue Dog Bakery Protein Nuggets

Just as some health-conscious humans like to snack on high protein items, pet owners like to treat their pets with something high protein. Blue Dog Bakery’s new Protein Nugget pet treats’ first ingredients are promoted as beef or chicken raised in the USA.

4. Health focus

Wellness Core Digestive Health dog food

Research connects digestive function with various other aspects of both human and pet health. Another new product line from Wellness focuses on gut health with a range of dog foods formulated for puppies, adults and seniors. This dog food range also notes the use of wholesome grains.

5. Grain-inclusive

First Mate dog foods

After the FDA investigation announcement, pet food formulators increasingly used a range of grains in dog foods, especially whole, ancient or otherwise unconventional grains. This new product continued that trend with a grain-friendly claim prominently displayed on the package.

6. Sustainability

Purina Beyond organic dog and cat food  

As the smoke shrouding the mountains on Tuesday suggested, ecological sustainability has moved into the forefront of many pet owners’ minds. No longer a niche, even pet food industry giants have products that address environmental concerns, like this new organic line of wet and dry dog and cat foods from Purina.

7. Dried raw

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Rawternative

Raw or minimally cooked pet foods have grown in popularity, but have to be frozen or refrigerated to avoid spoilage. Another alternative is to preserve the raw meat or other ingredients through freeze-drying, dehydration or some other process. The new product on display from Country Naturals Rawternative used air-drying to preserve beef or lamb organs.

8. Alternative proteins

Insects stood out as one of the more prevalent alternative animals as pet food protein sources. For example, at SuperZoo 2021, Jiminy’s presented Good Grub and Cricket Craze dog foods. Like some of the other ongoing trends in pet food, insects and other novel protein sources have a focus on both the health of the pet and the environment.

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