Sustainability & Personalisation Drives Pet Care for 2020 – What to Know

Many households love having a pet or two in the home, but most people are not aware of how large the pet care industry actually is. In the UK, Mintel reports that more than a third of households–45 per cent–have at least one pet. The global pet care market continues to expand and is projected to hit a little over US$200 billion in five years. 

Demand for pet care products has skyrocketed, due to a couple of reasons. E-commerce and online advertisement allow people more access to and awareness of pet care items. 

The increased purchasing power of millennials and Gen Z consumers, who are more likely to own pets than older cohorts, is also a factor. But apart from increased spending, there are other trends in pet care that are seeing sustained interest. Below are four trends that have gained momentum in the past two years, and will continue to drive pet retail in 2020.


In a recent European Sustainability survey among animal guardians, 60% of participants said they believe pet care companies should be sustainable. This includes using biodegradable packaging, being transparent about ingredients used, and partnering with recycling firms to help reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste produced in manufacturing.

In the UK, Mars Petcare has teamed up with the recycling company TerraCycle to launch a pet food recycling programme. The initiative receives used plastic food pouches from over a hundred partner locations in the UK.

To date, they have recycled more than a million units of plastic and raised £25,891.49. Sustainability is a large factor in millennial and Gen Z purchasing habits, who are the most likely to advocate for and support brands that make concrete steps toward being green.

Pet and guardian support

Mintel further reports that the next five years will see the majority of the growth from pet care services. The industry is set to experience a 34.3% growth in the next two years, and annual revenue will hit  £991 million by 2023.

The industry is vast, covering everything from pet clinics and grooming centres to animal hotels and daycare. If in the past there were only dog walkers or veterinarians, today more aspects of pet life are covered.

There are even products and services geared toward palliative pet care, pet cremation and cemeteries and grief consulting for families. Because more and more households are treating pets as family, they are starting to receive the same treatment any human member would.

And since 53% of households with pets also have children, the seemingly sudden loss of their furry friend should be processed immediately.

Premium food choices

Since pets are becoming more like family, owners are more likely to buy premium pet food. According to Euromonitor, premium pet food is one of the biggest reasons for the growth of the entire industry.

The numbers reflect this; in the UK, 76% of pet food buyers report that they actively look for brands that promise digestive health for pets. Consumers prefer all-natural, high-protein ingredients. They also look for food that promotes dental health and better hair growth. Direct-to-customer companies and speciality food stores are the ones that benefit the most from this.

For instance, London-based pet food subscription service Butternut Box has produced more than eight million pet meals since its launch four years ago, and their revenues grew 700% in 2019. This personalised, delivered-at-your-doorstep service helps owners feel more secure that they’re feeding their pets healthy and quality food.

The bottom line

Pet ownership has evolved into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. It is easy for owners to spend money on their animal friends because they are treated more like family. This new mindset has allowed for niches to thrive that address pet care in a nuanced, personalised way, and brands are likely to follow these trends for years to come.

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