The (pet food) times, they are a-changin’

The pet food industry continues to move forward on the waves of consumer trends.

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Pet food continues to change alongside consumer demands and growing industry knowledge. | (atakan |
Pet food continues to change alongside consumer demands and growing industry knowledge. | (atakan |

The April 2021 issue of Petfood Industry magazine covers a lot of ground in terms of pet food trends, consumer needs, and all the latest ways the industry is adapting to continued changes. The march to the future is inexorable, and whether that means paying attention to how customers get their products, what products they’re looking for or what those products look like, we’re going to have to keep up.

The pet food evolution continues

E-commerce experienced a rocket-like boost in 2020 due to the pandemic; now, more pet food companies are taking a look at their digital options when it comes to getting their products in front of consumers. This month’s profile, Tailored Pet (p. 12), is a new company that has removed the middleman completely by serving up personalized, direct-to-consumer pet food options, taking advantage of a trend that is small but mighty in the space right now.

In terms of pet food trends, alternative proteins are being more closely looked at than ever for a number of reasons: sustainability, variety, health and wellness, and a healthy dose of spillover from the human food segment are all influencing factors. As a result, plant-based proteins (p. 18) are having something of a moment in pet food, and while some pet food companies have always been on board with the concept, many more are beginning to look at their options in terms of formulating a product or two that can compete on store shelves.

Then there’s the idea of “modernization,” particularly when it comes to what customers see of their pet food packaging. Discussed for years and worked on in various committees and subgroups as part of the Association for American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a new pet food nutrition label (p. 24) is coming closer to getting off the drafting table and into reality, though the idea has not been without its challenges.

The industry has come a long way from the days of “brown and round” and nothing else; diversification seems to be the ongoing theme and there’s no looking back.

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