Year-on-year growth in dog food sales slowed down over 2015-2017, according to Euromonitor International
Much of this, Euromonitor believes, was due to an increase in urban living coupled with a slow recovery to the financial crisis.
A decline in the overall dog population in some markets, such as France and the UK, as well as a shift towards smaller dogs, has affected volume sales.
Dog food manufacturers have responded by devising premiumisation strategies with added value offerings.
Increasing segmentation is a key element in such strategies, with breed, life-style and age-specific products, as well as the offer of multifunctional properties.
Paula Flores, head of pet care at Euromonitor International comments, “Dogs have always been the most humanised animals. Traditionally considered man’s best friend, dogs increasingly share their owners’ lives. Dog food is largely comprised of premium pet food, particularly in North America, where niche products often experience fast growth.
“This was the case with freeze-dried and raw foods, which are perceived as more natural and capturing growth. Cats, on the other hand, are gaining popularity, particularly in more densely populated areas. Typically seen as less demanding than dogs, they are seen as companions. Gourmet-based innovation, as well as different textures and recipes, have been key to driving growth.”
Flores continued “In the UK, dog food is expected to follow a similar trend to the one experienced in 2016 and 2017. Due to socioeconomic factors, including decreasing household sizes, small dogs are expected to account for a 59 percent share of the total dog population by 2022.
“Further, a new law which has made dog microchipping compulsory since April 2016 has had a significant impact on pet owners, who are already switching to other types of pet to reduce costs.
“Consequently, volume sales are predicted to decline by an annual average of 3 percent over the forecast period. Premiumisation, innovation and strategies towards higher specific value in dog food will therefore be key to encouraging value growth.
“Dog treats could potentially see strong value growth if manufacturers continue to explore new options with less processed meats.
“Many brands have successfully tried options such as meaty sticks (chicken or salami), which are likely to grow in the future, alongside other innovative options, such as wet dog treats.”