Convincing dog and cat food buyers of a pet food brand’s nutritional value may provide growth opportunities for those brands, since pet owners seem willing to pay higher prices for healthier pet foods. David Sprinkle, publisher and research director at Packaged Facts, singled out nutritional-value promotion as a key area where the pet food industry has room to advance and expand. Sprinkle shared his insights during his session at Petfood Forum 2018.
“I think we have room for improvement in terms of making our case for our products and providing the objective science to back it,” he said.
To back up his own advice, Sprinkle presented data collected from US pet owners, which Packaged Facts published in “U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2018-2019.” Packaged Facts analysts found that forty percent of pet owners only somewhat agreed with the statement “nutritional claims by pet food companies are generally trustworthy.” By comparison, 13 percent strongly agreed, 10 percent somewhat disagreed and 34 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.
Importance of healthy pet food to owners
“The reason that's the most important for the industry for growth opportunities is because of this, ‘I'm willing to pay more for foods that are healthier for my pet’ very strongly skewed towards strongly agree or at least somewhat agree.”
Between 2017 and 2018, pet owners consistently replied to Packaged Facts surveys that they were willing to shell out more money for a healthier pet food. In 2018, 36 percent of respondents said strongly agree with the statement that they are willing to pay more for pet food products that are healthier for their pets, with 37 percent saying the same in 2017. Similarly, 39 percent somewhat agreed with that statement in 2018, with 38 percent in 2017.
“A very small percentage disagree,” Sprinkle said. “Most people agree that they're willing to pay more for foods that they perceive to be healthier for their pets. So this is where those innovation opportunities really lie.”