The pet food market was valued at USD 74.9 billion in 2016. North America accounted for the largest share of over 35% of the global market in 2016. The second largest market is Europe, followed by Asia-Pacific with around 20% of the market share, thus, accelerating the trend of pet ownership across the globe. In North America, the United States holds the major market share of pets and pet owners, which is expected to register a high CAGR, during 2017-2022 (the forecast period).
Flavors and textures are becoming bolder, more complex, authentic, and specific. The correlation of pet food and the modern formats blending freeze-dried bits, with kibble or treats, for texture variations, is making pet owners choose from a range of variety of shapes, textures, and flavors. Moreover, clean labeling continues to grow. Health conscious consumers look for permissible indulgences, like the smaller portion sizes of treats or candies with healthier ingredients like chia seeds or yogurt. Pet treats are developing, in terms of ingredients with functional or other nutritional benefits, which is allowing pet owners to indulge their pets free from guilt. New dog food products comprised of 80% of the global launches in 2015. The launches from September 2015 to September 2016, are keeping the health-related trend intact in new products by category. The share for cat food was around 68% globally. This trend of health and wellness has made good sales for the manufacturers. A few instances in this context are Hill’s Ideal Balance, a new range of dog and cat food that combines natural ingredients with Hill's perfectly balanced nutrition, is now available in South Africa. CORE® RawRev, a new high-protein grain-free product, is launched by Wellness CORE®, a family of grain-free, natural animal nutrition company.
The high internet connectivity available in the major countries is boosting the use on e-commerce sites as an effective distribution channel. The notions of convenience, affluence or exclusivity, safety, and market awareness play a very crucial role in the developing nations. The unreliability of local goods, as indicated by the recent scandals, is also making people rely on foreign goods. These are made easily available through the e-commerce, further making the sales high. Owing to the industry's two pet superstores, PetSmart and Petco, the e-commerce channel is exploding with the pet product sales. The late embrace of the market connectivity in the minor markets of small economies, such as Vietnam, Thailand etc., is a cause of infrastructure lag and almost negligible product awareness. These stores offer the nascent market advantages of low regulations and competition. The companies, as the e-commerce is strengthening, are negotiating the ever-changing internet landscape with the factors such as dealing with giants like Amazon that is deciding to sell through similar e-commerce websites and mergers & acquisitions. For instance, in April 2017, PetSmart announced that it will acquire Chewy.com, which heightened the consternation in the independent pet retailers. In response, Tuffy’s Pet Food, a manufacturer to independent and family-owned businesses, announced pulling out its products from Chewy, as it would be owned by the largest US pet store chain. Though Tuffy’s reports a very positive response, not every company detaches itself easily from any large e-commerce sites.
Though the consumers today are part-time vegetarians, they seem to do the opposite when it comes to pet food. The pet owners look for diet options, which focus on the carnivorous nature of dogs and cats, thus, driving the number of products with high and fresh meat claims. Despite the demand for carnivorous diets, veggies are still going mainstream and the producers are innovating their existing products. Free from” for all—the free from trend has been growing, since the past few years and has now hit the mainstream. Pet foods are being formulated with respect to the concerns of humans that include organic and non-GMO ingredients. These ingredients are used in low-carb recipes and have gluten-free claims on new cereal products that increased from one in 15 in 2011 to one in five in 2016. New product launches, with organic or GMO-free ingredients, are witnessing growth in the market. Organic and natural food sales are expected to increase 14.6%, annually, in next two years. For Petco and PetSmart, organic pet foods are bought at a 7.1% and 5.6% rate, respectively, with organic purchases at veterinary clinics at 5.3%. Brands communicate more about the production processes, due to the rising consumer interest in natural plus authenticity and transparency. This is true for the buyers, too, especially, for the ones seeking products in non-traditional formats such as raw, freeze-dried, frozen and baked. Balchem Corp., a global health, and nutrition company, introduced a new line of specialty nutrients and unique processing additives. The Omega Plus range was launched in the South Island in September 2016, after the two years of continuous R&D. In addition, Bob Martin launched Simply+, a range of products marketed as “nutritionally advanced food that provides dogs with all the essentials of a healthy diet”.
The domestic market is growing at an annual rate of above 30% in China and is poised to accelerate at the same rate by 2022, reaching CNY 150 billion and further, making it the third-largest market, worldwide. Moreover, Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province inaugurated the first cross-border pet industry experimental zone in the city's Jianggan District. The experimental zone will pilot the reforms on the regulation and approval of cross-border imports. It will explore the introduction of national standards in the industry and promote the exportation of domestically made products. Moreover, more than 35 enterprises, including the cross-border e-commerce sites like Tmall, Kaola Beibei, and related logistics & warehousing companies, have been established in the experimental zone. The zone, basically, enables one-stop services and aims to enroll open, transparent, and smart pet food import channels and regulatory policies. Similar efforts are being taken by the countries to focus on the growing pet population and trends. The market players are taking complete advantage of this situation and investing in R&D for innovative product launches.