The vast majorities of pet owners considers their pet a member of the family, and thus are transitioning to healthier food options for their pets. In fact, nearly 80% of pet owners say the quality of their pet’s food is as important as theirs, and nearly 40% of US households now have a dog, which is 8% more than those that have children. This is an expansive industry and a few of the recent trends in this burgeoning market are discussed below.
In a recent issue of Food Technology Magazine, contributing editor, A. Elizabeth Sloan writes about recent trends in the gourmet pet food industry. This premium sector accounted for 40 percent of the 26 billion dollar U.S. pet food market in 2013, with natural pet foods totaling over $4 billion in total sales. Many new flavors and presentations have been incorporated, as well as meal “types” like appetizers and breakfast.
Half of new pet foods have added vitamins, antioxidants, protein, glucosamine, and DHA and many have eliminated fillers, artificial ingredients and byproducts. The Paleo Diet has created a new (old) normal, which reflects the eating habits of our ancestors. This high protein, minimal carbohydrate way of eating has been incorporated into the diets of canines and felines. Since more than half of dogs and cats are overweight, it is necessary to address this issue through more functional and therapeutic pet food.