Packaged Facts released a new report.

America's dogs and cats are gobbling up more treats and chews than ever, market research firm Packaged Facts reports.

But there's an important twist.

For an increasing number of pet owners, flavor and entertainment value alone are no longer enough. Many consumers are also seeking out treats that address health conditions, provide dental care and contain special ingredients, according to the firm, which recetly released a report called Pet Treats and Chews in the U.S., 2nd Edition.

"For their part, treat and chew marketers are well aware that their products aren't a 'necessary' components of a pet's diet, going above and beyond to convince pet owners that their products do more than add calories to their pet's diet, be it serving as a training aid, or a supplement-infused wellness booster, or as an additional way to play and bond," Packaged Facts says in a press release.

The company's survey results show that 92 percent of dog owners and 80 percent of cat owners have purchased treats in the past 12 months, contributing to a retail market valued at $6.4 billion as of 2017.

"To keep pets and pet owners engaged in the market for treats and chews, innovation is the name of the game, with human-style designs and formulations, health and wellness, and product safety as primary driving forces," according to the firm. "As such, treat and chew development follows human trends in many respects, with superfood ingredients, grain-free formulas, and 'clean' labels among the most popular current trends."

Multifunctional treats and chews are popular as well, with dental treats topping the list, accounting for 25 percent of treat and chew market sales. Other trends resonating with pet owners include exotic proteins, age- and weight-related treats (joint/mobility, cognitive and training-sized mini-treats), rawhide substitutes and treats made with locally sourced ingredients.

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