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‘Functional’ Pet Foods Poised to Drive Industry Growth

They’re designed for specific health needs.

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ROCKVILLE, MD — Functional pet food products are positioned to play a key role in pet-product industry growth, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.

Functional pet food is “designed for preventive healthcare or to address specific pet health conditions,” according to the firm.

“Just as many Americans are proactive about their own health diet-wise, a sizeable majority of pet owners believe the pet foods they buy have a strong impact on the health of their pets,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Survey data published in the report Pet Industry Outlook: Veterinary Services and Pet Product Retailing reveal that 72 percent of dog and 67 percent of cat owners agree that “High-quality dog foods/cat foods are effective for preventive healthcare,” and more than a three-fourths of dog and cat owners agree that “targeted pet foods with special nutrition formulations are beneficial to pets with specific health concerns.” Top functional foods sought by dog and cat owners include:

  • Oral/dental health formulas.
  • Skin and coat/long hair formulas.
  • Senior/mature formulas.
  • Weight management formulas.
  • Joint/mobility formulas.
  • Digestive/sensitive stomach formulas.
  • Hairball formulas (for cats).

Many of these conditions are connected to the graying of America’s companion animals. Dogs and cats are living longer, and as a result are dealing with age-related conditions including joint, coronary, cognitive and immune-system-related health problems, as well as diabetes and cancer. Senior-targeted pet products cover all of these needs as well as routine daily concerns, and because of their more specialized health focus, senior products and services are typically priced well above the market average.

Older pet populations also drive human-style advancements in veterinary care, medications and supplements supported by newer payment options such as pet insurance, according to the company. Moreover, as pets age, the human/animal bond deepens, creating an increased willingness among pet owners to do whatever it takes to keep their pets healthy and happy for as long as possible. Because of all these factors, Packaged Facts forecasts functional pet food targeting conditions related to aging will have excellent growth prospects in coming years.

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