Two more top trends in cat food

Learn about two of the top trends currently in the cat food and treats space: a focus on health and the desire for sustainable products.

Beaton Headshot New Headshot
Cat health and overall product sustainability are two of the trends driving evolution in the cat space. (Volodymyr Buriak |
Cat health and overall product sustainability are two of the trends driving evolution in the cat space. (Volodymyr Buriak |
Cute gray funny baby kitten in gray cloth

Functional formulations and innovation are two key aspects of expansion in the cat food and treats space right now, but there are other trends that intertwine with these consumer needs. Here are the top two, according to industry experts:

1) Cat health

Human health has been in sharp focus since the start of the pandemic for obvious reasons, and that extra attention has expanded to the furry members of the family.

“During the pandemic, many people became more concerned about their personal health as well as that of their pets,” said Rob Cadenhead, general manager for Gott Pet Products, parent company of Hound & Gatos. “So, they’ve been reading ingredient statements more carefully when purchasing food for their cats. A sizeable segment seems to be gravitating toward brands that take a science-based stance while utilizing clean, simple, natural ingredients.”

Of course this links directly to the larger functional trend, as ingredients come to the forefront to answer to various cat needs.

“It’s really about staying healthy from the inside out,” said Dana Paris, CMO for Canidae. “Probiotics have been a part of the conversation for a long time, but now we’re expanding beyond probiotics alone. There are prebiotics and postbiotics, and the gut microbiome is a topic that is starting to get more attention. It’s not just about gut health, but the fact that a healthy gut microbiome is connected to overall health. Consumers are reading labels and becoming more educated about what is in their cat food. We expect to see an increase in products that focus on health from the inside out.”

Unsurprisingly, weight is also a considerable issue for many pet owners, including those with cats.

“There are healthy weight offerings, but consumers are becoming more aware of overfeeding,” said Paris. “Treats can be tricky as they sneak in extra calories that aren’t accounted for in daily feeding guidelines or wet or dry food. This issue isn’t going away, in fact it’s only getting worse, so we would expect that there will be a lot of new offerings focused around obesity.”

2) Sustainability

Sustainability is an inevitable topic these days, and it’s being included in nearly all conversations about pet food.

“As pet owners are more conscious of the origins of their pets' food and are making dietary decisions accordingly, we think the next step is to consider socially conscious and eco-friendly choices as well,” said Jeff San Souci, director of marketing at Hagen (which owns the brand Catit, among others, and recently launched an insect protein-based cat food to the market). “Insect protein is one way of doing that. There will always be a market for conventional proteins, but as natural options become more widely accessible, consumers will look toward foods that are not only clean but sustainable, to reduce both their ecological footprint and their pets’ pawprint.”

It’s clear that the cat segment is diversifying in ways it hasn’t before, and as trends continue to evolve it’s vital to maintain the balance of what’s best for cats and what cat owners are asking for. Fortunately, it looks like those conversations are already happening.

For the companion article, "Cat food expanding as innovations grow in the segment,” published in the November 2021 issue of Petfood Industry magazine, see

Page 1 of 704
Next Page