Packaged Facts research reveals growing trends in pet nutrition


ORLANDO, FLA. — On March 23, Packaged Facts shared its latest pet market data during Global Pet Expo held in Orlando from March 23 to 25. In line with David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, the trends and concerns of pet parents, together with the COVID-19 pandemic, have aided within the increased concern of pet health and wellness, a decline of brick-and-mortar purchasing, and recent omnimarket trends.


Pet parent attitudes

Packaged Facts’ data revealed the trends across generations via personal attitudes toward pet care, which the American Pet Products Association took a more in-depth take a look at in volume 4 of its Generational Report. In line with Packaged Facts, most pet owners across all generations consider their pets to be a part of their family, with a high of 81% of Baby Boomers and a low of 75% of Millennials/Gen Z.

“What’s interesting here is the literal disappearance of even ‘somewhat disagree,’ or ‘strongly disagree,’ [with the claim that pets are a part of the family],” Sprinkle said. “There’s almost nobody who actively disagrees with the concept your [pets] are a part of the family. And that’s pretty remarkable, and helps explain the scale of the industry and the robust growth of the industry.”

This trend of viewing pets as a part of the family has also led to a rise in pet parent interest in pet health and wellness. In line with Packaged Facts, 35% Baby Boomers, 40% Gen X and 45% of Millennials/Gen Z are concerned with their pets’ health and wellness, with many citing COVID-19 as the final word cause.

“You possibly can see that… the odds are relatively high,” Sprinkle explained. “…Not only has the pandemic accelerated many trends already in place, but it surely especially accelerated [the health and wellness trend] amongst Millennials and Gen Z and amongst recent pet owners. Just in the instance of pet supplements as a COVID-19 health and wellness concern, only 3% of Baby Boomers and 18% of Millennials [are giving their pets supplements].”

The rising generational difference in pet health concerns has influenced the recognition of the pet complement segment throughout the market. The most well-liked condition-specific supplements for dogs include joint and mobility, skin and coat health, immune system health, dental and oral health, heart health and stress and anxiety calming.  

Amongst cat and dog owners specifically, Packaged Facts found that pet food usage of different formats, which include fresh, frozen, raw and freeze-dried pet foods, varies from generation to generation. Twenty-nine percent of Millennial/Gen Z dog owners and 24% of Millennial/Gen Z cat owners reported using these alternative pet foods, in comparison with 28% of Gen X dog owners and 20% of Gen X cat owners. Baby Boomers are less more likely to use alternative pet food formats, at just 13% for dog owners and 9% for cat owners on this generation.

As interest in health and wellness concerns proceed to grow, many pet parents are using a wide range of sources, from the web to in-store retailers and veterinarians, to search out products that talk to health and wellness, comparable to supplements.

“…Sources of healthcare [and pet care] information have really diversified,” Sprinkle explained. “The range of influences is far more balanced across sources and that every one becomes points of competition, points of influence or lively spending, whether it’s services or products.”

In line with Packaged Facts, older generations like Seniors (75-years-old and older) and Baby Boomers depend on their veterinarians and past experience in pet ownership to tell them on the essential pet care information, whereas younger generations, like Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z, rely less on their veterinarians and more so on members of the family and friends, pet specialty stores, and the web and social media.


Online versus brick-and-mortar

Together with increased levels of concern about pet health, COVID-19 has also led to the rise in online purchasing, especially within the pet food and product space. Packaged Facts found that 40% of pet parents claimed to buy online more due to COVID-19, only 6% claimed to buy online less consequently of the pandemic, and 54% claimed that their online shopping wasn’t affected by COVID-19.

“The pandemic accelerated a trend that was already in place, pushing a high percentage of pet product sales online,” Sprinkle said.

In line with Sprinkle, pet product sales drastically increased to $26 billion in 2021, in comparison with a mere $6 billion in 2016.

pet parents’ general patterns of buying in-store versus online pre and post pandemic, 53% of pet owners claimed to buy in-store before COVID-19, with a mere 7% shopping exclusively online. But after COVID-19, in-store shopping dropped to 32%, with exclusively online shopping rising to 18%.

The rise in online purchasing and drastic decrease of brick-and-mortar purchasing has already affected pet product and food dollar shares. In line with Sprinkle, e-commerce and online shopping is projected to be 48% of all pet product sales by 2026, further damaging the expansion of brick-and-mortar purchasing.

“Brick-and-mortar is in fact decreasing and never only decreasing, inevitably, but it surely’s bringing down growth and share for all other channels,” Sprinkle added. “So, whether it’s supercenters, supermarkets, whether it’s chain pet stores or independent pet stores, the success of e-commerce… doesn’t leave room for anyone else to actually maintain a major share on the brick-and-mortar level.”


The omnimarket trend

Sprinkle also introduced the term “omnimarket.” In line with Sprinkle, the term omnimarket refers to an organization’s more thorough saturation of the pet market. For instance, many pet food corporations have begun to enter other areas of the pet space, like veterinary services, to foster more customer loyalty.

“It isn’t simply about selling products or selling services,” Sprinkle explained. “It’s really about diversifying and form of expanding your tendrils so you may compete or take your spending as effectively and as holistically as possible.”

The omnimarket trend shouldn’t be only popular with pet product corporations but additionally with many human product and food corporations, with a variety of traditionally human-focused brands entering the pet food space. In line with Sprinkle, most pet parents are receptive toward human corporations moving into the pet space.

Packaged Facts found that 30% to 34% of Millennials and Gen Z pet owners like the thought of human corporations crossing over into pet, while only 13% to 16% of Seniors are keen on this omnimarket strategy.

“We are able to expect to see this increasing based on the chance as evidenced by pet market performance in the course of the pandemic, but additionally based on consumer receptivity,” Sprinkle said. “…It’s all types of border crossings which are creating growth and opportunity, catering to the broader range of demands and expectations of Millennials and Gen Z and Baby Boomers and Seniors…”

In light of COVID-19 implications and this trending omnimarket strategy, Packaged Facts shared the expansion of the pet industry in 2021. Overall, industry sales have increased 14% to about $125 billion, whereas the pet food and treat segment has witnessed a rise of 15% to $51 billion.

Looking into 2022, Sprinkle said he expects to see many more human brands cross over into the pet market, further increasing the worth of the whole industry.

Read more of our Global Pet Expo coverage.


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