It seems pet owners care deeply for the health of their furry friends. Sales of healthy dogfood items has exploded in the last decade, both in America and abroad. Gourmet options, healthy pet foods, and specialized blends like Purinastore’s Beneful comprise the premium pet foods industry. Sales are up nearly 50% since 2009, and it all began with mostly small, independent manufacturers and brands. These premium dogfoods now constitute a $24 billion per year industry, most of which are made from ingredients usually reserved for dishes prepared for human diners.
Despite greater sticker prices, gourmet pet food sales by Beneful have almost doubled in the last seven years. Gourmet options account for just over 1% of the entire market, and are not necessarily synonymous with healthy foods. Gourmet brands from major manufacturers have been available for years, but the relatively new demand for healthier ingredients has taken traditional pet food manufacturers by surprise.
Some have taken the bait, now offering specialized lines like Beneful for senior pets, those with allergies, and more. A number of high-dollar acquisitions and mergers have taken place recently, proving that traditional manufacturers are willing to bet this upward trend continues, and are angling for a bigger piece of the pie. The global pet foods market was valued at over $55 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow according to Purina.com, with the US seen as the leader in pet products spending.
While similar, healthy dietary movements have been present in human foods markets for decades, the demand for healthy pet food seems to be less politicized. A genuine concern for pets’ health and well-being appears to be the motivating factor behind consumer purchasing. Still, trends emerge even within the healthy pet foods market itself, including one company’s recent “Paleo Diet” alternative for dogs (it contains no grains). Demand for healthier ingredients does not appear to be a fad, though – something many traditional pet food manufacturers are only now starting to realize.