The Europe Pet Food Market was estimated at a value of about USD 25.56 billion in 2017. The industry is forecasted to register a CAGR of over 4.77% during the forecast period.
Pet humanization involves owners trying to incorporate pets into more and more aspects of their human lives, like holidays, nutrition, health care, and more. This led to the commercialization of human-like goods and services for pets, healthcare services, including counselling and health insurance.
Traditionally pet owners fed their pet leftovers and scraps from family meals. However, consumers are now becoming aware that pet food and home-made food consist of separate nutritional elements, and that pets need to be fed a diverse range of food, as part of an adequate diet.
Buyers are looking for products, which are locally grown, or natural, or have digestive benefits. For instance, Cargill, in January 2018, reached an agreement to acquire Pro-Pet, including premium dog food brand Black Gold®. The acquisition is believed to have made Cargill the only supplier of both animal feed and pet food offerings in the agricultural retail space, in the United States.
With the growing trend of pet humanization, there has also been an increased concern for pet health and safety. The growing human-animal bond, which defines consumers’ willingness to spend for their pets. The growing demand for pet healthcare insurance in the United States will also support the argument. In 2017, 1.6 million pets in the United States were insured, according to the North American Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)
Many pets in the recent times are becoming obese, and the majority of the pet owners fail to notice that their pets are obese. The fact that pets never have to put in any effort to procure their food, combined with the heavy spending from owners for calorie rich premium pet food, has resulted in an increased number of obese pets. The increasing humanization of pet food can be seen as a factor for obesity, among pets. This is slowly changing due to awareness drives by many veterinarians and pet activists.
Given that the humanization of pet food will continue to drive the demand for highly nutritious food for pets during the forecast period, it is projected that obesity among pets will be on the rise as well. With the growing incidences of obesity among pets, a small portion of owners are now taking efforts to control the calorific intake of their pets. This acts as a restraint for the pet food market, albeit a minor one. As the efforts to increase owner awareness about pet obesity begin to show results, this factor will only gain strength to limit the growth of the pet food market.
For the pet food market to overcome this challenge, the pet food companies should generate enough awareness about the effects of their products in pet obesity, along with providing customers enough information about the appropriate usage of their products for pets.
Major Players: Mars Inc., Nestle Purina Pet Care, Hills Pet Nutrition Inc., Wellpet Llc , among others.