Three billion pounds—that is the worth of the pet food industry in the UK, and it is only set to keep growing. The UK is the biggest pet food market in all of Europe—yes, pets are big business. Much of this growth can be attributed to the large interest in pet ownership and the rise in trends of pet humanisation and premiumisation.
The strong presence of heath and animal advocacy groups in the UK is also creating an impact on domestic laws and regulations regarding product ingredients and labelling. Pet food manufacturers are banking on the increasing use of organic and natural ingredients, due to the swelling cases of pet obesity, strongly mimicking human trends.
According to Statista, the pet food industry is expected to grow by 3.9% annually or £4.82bn. What are the factors influencing the growth in this industry? Here are some trends in the pet food industry that are making waves:
In the United States, about 58 million families (or 68 per cent of the household population) already own a pet, a rising number of families opting for pet adoption. This is partly due to the increasing number of nuclear families in developing economies in the Asia Pacific, such as Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and China. The increasing human life expectancy has also led to older generations to adopt more pets, which will highly contribute to the increase in pet food demand over the next few years.
With the increasing trend in pet obesity, plus the industry following human tastes and nutritional requirements, the demand for premium ingredients is increasing. This includes the desire for traceable and locally-sourced materials. Consumers in the pet food market are also calling for recipes to be gourmet or British, simple and natural, made with organic and authentic ingredients, and to have high protein and vegetable content.
Another trend set to increase is the single-serving of wet cat food. Many cat parents are looking for flavour variations to appease their picky felines. Cats are known to be fussy eaters, so palatability and variation are important. Just like with the rest of the innovations in the pet food world, a single-serve food recipe for cats also follows premiumisation and humanisation. Soon, you will see sets of “delicious” selection of gourmet cat food piled up on your supermarket shelves.
Raw meat and treats
One of the fastest expanding areas in the pet food industry is the dog and cat treat market. Every year, it increases in volume and value, making it a lucrative sphere for pet food manufacturers to focus on. The increasing trend and emphasis in premiumisation and humanisation have transmuted into pet treats.
Nowadays, if you feel like it, you can treat your dog to a muffin or even indulge your cat to a beer. Another profitable trend retailers are focusing on are raw meat products for their furry friends, which can be purchased, frozen, and thawed. In the United States, freeze-dried raw food products are also growing in popularity.
In the long run, it looks like much of our own demands and tastes will dictate how the pet food industry will fare in the future.
Browse through our website for more news on the pet industry in the UK.