Pet food ingredient supplier BENEO surveyed 2,500 dog and cat owners in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany and China about how inflation and rising prices have influenced pet food purchasing decisions in August 2023.
Nearly 90% of surveyed pet owners feel that pet food prices have risen in the last year. Among respondents, 1 in 6 had switched to a less expensive pet food brand because of rising prices. Those who didn’t switch focused on using promotions and buying larger packages. When buying pet food, survey respondents considered price less important than ingredient quality, nutritional value, taste and health claims. More than half of respondents were willing to pay a premium for pet food with health-promoting ingredients backed by empirical evidence.
Digestive health claims in pet food marketing
“Pet parents are very concerned about their pet’s health and the survey results reflect this, with more than 4 in 5 owners considering their pet’s health to be as important as their own,” Beneo market analysts wrote. “The link between their pet’s digestive health and overall health is also more widely recognized by pet owners, with over 3 in 4 cat and dog owners understanding that the digestive system has a positive influence on many aspects beyond the gut, such as bone condition, mental and physical wellbeing and the immune system. It is not surprising therefore that the on-pack claims most likely to influence the purchasing of pet food products include ‘promotes digestive health naturally’ and ‘easy-to-digest’.”
More than 1 in 3 respondents stated that they feed their pets food with marketing claims about digestive health support. Nearly half of the surveyed pet owners associated prebiotics with gut health.
Most effective digestive health claims:
- digestive comfort and well-being
- promotes digestive health naturally
- supports a healthy and balanced digestive system
Other important marketing claims for pet food
As in human food trends, protein quality and content were important for 7 in 10 respondents. Sustainability claims were considered by 4 in 5 pet owners. More than half of cat and dog owners considered plant-based proteins to be better for the environment. For example, more than 80% of pet owners associate fava beans with environmental sustainability.
“Natural and high-quality vegetal proteins are therefore a valuable resource for manufacturers, allowing them to cater to pet owners’ interests, whilst formulating nutritious pet food recipes,” Beneo analysts wrote.