North America Pet Food Market - Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2020 - 2025)

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ADM expands pet food business with the purchase of Crosswind Industries

Nestlé to expand manufacturing capacity at Eau Claire Plant

Petco launches a line of Drs. Foster and Smith dog food

The North American pet industry is the largest and most dominant market, occupying about 37% of the global market. The industry was valued at around USD 27,713.9 million in 2016 and is estimated to reach 35882.8 million by 2022, registering a CAGR of 4.4%. This growth is prompted by the large interest in pet ownership across the continent, with the United States households owing 79.2 million dogs and 87.25 million cats and Canadians owing about 14.2 million pets. The United States is the largest, rapidly evolving and trend setting market of the region, accounting for nearly 82% of the North American market, followed by Mexico (XX%) and Canada (XX%).

Rising premiumisation = Growth in pet food sales

The tendency of consumers to humanize pets and treat them as their surrogate children is driving premiumisation in pet food. The premium pet food products have witnessed a good demand, in spite of the recession. The consumers remain sensitive to the safety, quality and ingredient source of pet food, due to the contamination that is one of the major threats to the market. As the pet humanization continues, owners are seeking specialized and higher-quality pet food, influenced by their own eating preferences. A majority of the pet food manufacturers have shifted their product portfolios up-market, to respond to the demands and preserve margins, particularly, since the lower-priced sub-sector supplanted by private labels. In addition, pet owners want to indulge and reward their pets, apart from the regular meals, thereby, leading to a strong retail growth of pet treats. Premiumisation is a major factor driving the taste and flavor innovations such as gourmet ingredients such as béchamel sauce, veal pâté, cranberry, turkey & meat and pumpkin purée with quinoa. Moreover, the manufacturers emphasize on the use of 100% meat and no fillers. The continuous humanization of cats is expected to create great opportunities for the cat food manufacturers in developing premium/super premium products. Although the availability of the products for cats is significantly smaller than that of dogs, cat and dog treats are poised to post healthy growth rates, whereas premium dog and cat food are expected to grow, reflecting the ongoing trends towards premiumisation.

Growth in demand for natural and organic pet foods

Dry food is the largest segment accounting for about 39% of the total market share, followed by snacks (21%) and wet foods (7%). The free-from products such as grain free, soy free and low grain products are gaining a major foothold in regard to the increasing health consciousness among consumers. Based on the animal type, dog and cat foods occupy the largest market, due to the increased domestication and appeal. The increase in penetration of e-commerce sector is a great opportunity for the low-cost marketing for innovative and novel product line, developed by these emerging companies. Many health issues such as skin allergies, brain aging, arthritis, digestive disorders and obesity have become common among pets, causing serious concern for the pet owners. The increase in health problems awareness is driving the owners to purchase nutritious and healthy food, thereby, gaining the popularity of organic pet food. Pet owners prefer organic over conventional pet food, owing to its vitamins & minerals contents. In addition, they have all natural ingredients with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.

Changing perception of consumer towards pet health

The increase in pet humanization, wherein pets are treated with increased care and hygiene, is a major driver for the market and changing the product packing and resourcing ethically viable products. The development of private labels stores, focusing on unique and locally sourced products, to increase their overall appeal. As pet food becomes specialized, with manufacturers catering to consumers’ demand for functional ingredients, the organic pet food or functional ingredients have become trendy. For instance, the high omega-3 pet food formulae were purchased among 17% of the dog owners and 12% of cat owners in the United States, in 2016. Around 14% of dog and 11% of cat owners buy foods with high claims of antioxidants, while 9.5% of dog and 8.2%  of cat owners look for foods containing probiotics/prebiotics. The major restraints for the market are the increased pet-related allergies, government regulation and fluctuating economies. The recent awareness about the food ingredients and feeding strategies is forcing the development of customized products, catering to the needs of specific breeds. Additionally, combined with the increased demand for high-end products, this trend is a major opportunity for new players.

M&A activity slows in pet food

After the acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands by JM Smucker Co’s in March 2015, the M&A (mergers & acquisitions) in pet food market slowed down in the second half of 2015 and early 2016. The smaller specialty manufacturers, in the premium space, have become attractive acquisition targets for the major players. For instance, Nestlé Purina added Merrick Pet Care to its portfolio in July 2015. In spite of this acquisition, M&A activity in pet food market is poised to be muted in 2016, compared to in 2014 and early 2015. However, the highly fragmented pet products are mature, for future M&A efforts. In 2015, for instance, Spectrum Brands acquired Salix Animal Health, while Central Garden & Pet Co acquired, both, IMS Pet Industries Inc. and Dallas Manufacturing Co. Further, given the strong recent performance and high degree of fragmentation within pet products, M&A activity is likely to intensify in the segment in the coming years.


Notable market developments

  • ADM expands pet food business with the purchase of Crosswind Industries
  • Nestlé to expand manufacturing capacity at Eau Claire Plant
  • Petco launches a line of Drs. Foster and Smith dog food.

Our report on North American pet food market covers the following

  • North American pet food market trends & dynamics
  • Latest News & developments
  • Geographical insights
  • Porter’s five force analysis
  • Investment scope
  • Deep-dive insights

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