European pet food market grew in 2021, less than 2020

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, European pet owners continue to demand environmentally and socially responsible kibble, wet food, treats and other pet products.

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(Lbryan |
(Lbryan |

In Europe, pet owners continued buying premium dog, cat and other foods and treats at higher rates in 2021 than before the pandemic, but pet food sales growth slowed from 2020’s stocking-up phase of the pandemic.

Premium and economy priced pet foods continued to see the strongest sales value growth in Europe in 2021, both increasing by a bit more than 4%. Euromonitor International published that data in the report “Pet Care Post-COVID Trends in Europe.” By comparison, that was less growth than last year, when premium increased by well over 6%, economy by 5% and mid-priced by a little more than 3%. Pet food growth remained stronger in 2021 across all price segments than in 2019. Two years ago, premium grew less than 4% and economy by approximately 1.5%, while mid-priced pet food declined slightly.

European pet food sales growth by segment

Within that 2021 growth, private label pet foods sales outperformed branded products. Wet and dry foods, along with treats, all grew slower than in 2020. Treats continued strong sales growth with nearly 6% in 2020 and slightly more than 4% in 2021. Wet food increased a bit more than 4% in 2020, and less than 3% in 2021. Dry pet food showed the largest change in sales growth, going from nearly 3% in 2020 to 1% this year.

E-commerce growth also slowed after rapid acceleration last year. Last year, pet care e-commerce growth exceeded 30%, while this year it slowed to 10%, compared to around 15% annually between 2015 and 2019. Pet food subscription services may have fueled e-commerce growth in Europe. More than 60% of pet owners use some form of subscription service, according to Euromonitor survey respondents.

European pet owners buying online may also care more about environmental and social issues. Across generations and income levels, digitally savvy pet owners told Euromonitor they tended to buy sustainably produced products.

Overall, Euromonitor analysts concluded that the European pet food industry may be largely recession-proof. The ongoing pandemic continues to challenge pet food supply chains, while fueling pet food sales and treat growth in Europe. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, pet owners continue to increasingly demand environmentally and socially responsible kibble, wet food, treats and other pet products.

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