3 superfoods growing fast as cat food trends

James Restivo, director of client development at market research group Nielsen, identified certain superfood ingredients that are popular in cat food.

Tim Wall Headshot Small Headshot
photo by kozorog, BigStock.com
photo by kozorog, BigStock.com

Superfoods continue to grow in popularity in both human and pet foods as functional ingredients. During the opening session of Petfood Innovation Workshop, James Restivo, director of client development at market research group Nielsen, identified certain superfood ingredients that are popular in cat food.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s cat food, dog food or even in treats, pet, health, and wellness is really, really important these days,” he said. “So what we’re seeing, just like on a human side, superfoods are coming into the pet foods to try to solve some of those challenges…For example, cranberry, particularly with cats, we know cats have urinary tract challenges, cranberry solve those urinary tract challenges.”

Superfood ingredients in cat food

Restivo noted that cranberries are a fast growing trend in cat food. Currently, two percent of cat foods sales are of products containing cranberries, according to Nielsen’s Product Insider report. In the 52 weeks leading up to March 3, 2018, cat foods containing cranberries saw 54 percent sales dollar growth.

Another fast growing trend in cat food is sweet potato, Restivo said. Cat foods made with sweet potatoes also make up two percent of total cat food sales. In the 52 weeks leading up to March 3, 2018, cat foods containing sweet potatoes had 19 percent dollar growth.

A third superfood Restivo pointed out was kale. Only .2 percent of cat food sales are currently of products formulated with kale. However, kale-containing cat foods enjoyed sales dollar growth of 36 percent.

2 proven, 5 growing dog food trends in 2018

In the US dog food market, there are proven trends or fast growing trends, said Restivo.

Promoting meat as the first ingredient and being free from animal byproducts are proven trends used by numerous dog foods in their marketing claims. While they make up the majority of sales, they aren’t growing as quickly as some types of dog food.

The sales growth rate of new trends compared to their percentage of total US dog food sales was nearly the inverse of established trends. In other words, product trends that made up the smallest percentage of sales tended to be the fastest growing.

“We’ve got some fast growing trends, such as all-natural ingredients, sweet potato, duck, so a novel protein source promoted by what it is doing for the food,” he said. “There’s free-from-GMO and even something like honey, a natural sweetener in the marketplace.”

Finding new rising pet food trends

Today’s rising trends may soon be established trends. Pet food companies can benefit from staying ahead of the competition in identifying the next hot pet food ingredient or style. To find innovative pet food trends, Restivo recommended looking to human food. The next foodie darling may be today’s decoration.

“Twenty years ago, I worked in a hotel banquet hall, and we used to set up a salad bar,” said Restivo. “And around the salad bar, pieces that people would actually eat, we would line kale as a garnish. Nobody would actually eat it, it's interesting that you walk down the marketplace today, just about everywhere has a kale salad.

“I would implore each and every one of you as you look for inspiration on pet food or pet food manufacturing or ingredients, look to the human side because those same humans feel if it's good enough for me, let me think about moving it to the pet side.”

Page 1 of 316
Next Page