Some 34% of dog food buyers believe it is good for pets to regularly have a plant-based meal instead of a meat-based one, according to a recent study by Mintel Pet Food.
The study also revealed more than four in 10 (43%) of dog food buyers believe it is “healthier to limit the amount of red meat eaten by pets, than not limit it at all”.
Some 58% dog food buyers aged 16-24 believe it is healthier to limit red meat in their dogs’ diets, compared with just 30% of dog food buyers aged 45+. Similarly, four in 10 (40%) dog food buyers aged 16-24 are in favour of regularly dishing up plant-based meals, compared with just 21% of owners aged 55+.
Following other “human food trends”, Mintel research revealed that digestive health is also high on pet owner’s priority list, as three-quarters (76%) of cat/dog food buyers believe that actively looking after pets’ digestive health is essential for their overall health.
Overall, seven in 10 (71%) pet food buyers say that a pet’s diet has a direct impact on its emotional wellbeing, while half (51%) show an interest in food with calming ingredients such as chamomile and hemp.
Emma Clifford, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, said: “Our research finds that many pet owners are keen for their cats and dogs to adopt some of the alternative diet trends that are being embraced by humans.
“The fact that a third of dog food buyers agree that it is good for pets to regularly have plant-based meals is a key example of the considerable scope of the humanisation of pets trend.”
She added “The growing interest in plant-based diets among the population as a whole has a lot to do with this trend extending to our four-legged friends. Digestive health is also on pet owners’ radar, mirroring the fact that most UK adults agree that gut health is essential to their own overall health.
“We expect the humanisation trend to continue, as consumer interest in functional and all-natural pet foods is likely to increase.”