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Here Are 3 Pet Food Trends to Watch in 2019

Packaged Facts released a new report.




ROCKVILLE, MD — The U.S. retail market for dog and cat food ended 2018 with sales of $27 billion, up more than 4 percent compared to 2017, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.

The finding appears in the company’s new report Pet Food in the U.S., 14th Edition.

Packaged Facts attributes much of the growth in the pet food market to the rapid acceleration of online sales, driven especially by and

“Although brick-and-mortar retailers have been losing sales to e-tailers, the Internet has been delivering incremental sales growth in the pet market overall,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “E-commerce sales have, in fact, been so strong that they have been more than off-setting sluggish pet product sales in other channels. We at Packaged Facts estimate that 12 million households purchased pet products online in 2018, attracted by the competitive prices and the endless aisle appeal of Internet sellers, and this number will only increase in the coming years. For pet food marketers, an omnichannel approach is therefore a necessity in a business whose consumer base will increasingly be doing some or all of its pet food shopping online.”

In 2019 and beyond, Packaged Facts forecasts that “blockbuster online sales will play an important part in the market’s future,” according to a press release from the company. But this isn’t the only trend that will drive the market.

Here are three other important market drivers that Packaged Facts highlights in the report:

  • Personalized Pet Food. “Customized, personalized pet foods embody a range of overlapping trends, taking advantage of the ease and convenience of online sales, the desire for top notch ingredients and clean label foods, and pet owners’ desire to provide human-style variety to their pets,” said Sprinkle.Packaged Facts’ research reveals that opportunities in personalized pet food range from home-delivered, customized pet food to the use of meal toppers and add-ins, and even in-store test kitchens. Marketers and retailers are experimenting with these trends, including Petco with its JustFoodForDogs in-store kitchens, Purina with its customized Just Right brand sold online, and Ollie with its partnership with Allowing pet owners to pre-craft meals that are delivered to their doorstep, customize bulk foods with broths or toppers, or subscribe to a service that provides freshly prepared meals are all ways pet food marketers can cater to pet owners’ desire to go above and beyond standard kibble and spearhead the next generation of superpremium pet food.
  • Spotlight on Sourcing, Sustainability and Animal Welfare. “Pet owners want safe, nutritious foods for their fur babies, and two opportunities tie in with this demand — ingredient sourcing and ingredient claims,” said Sprinkle.Packaged Facts reports that a greater degree of transparency on the part of pet food marketers will be key to winning and keeping pet owner trust, with “clean” labels that tout ingredients sourced in a safe, sustainable and ethical manner playing a big part in pet owners’ decision-making process. The other side of this coin involves a laser focus on ingredients, whether from a functional perspective or to highlight “free-from” claims, further educating pet owners as to how good nutrition can help their pets live longer and healthier lives. Today’s pet owners are looking for ingredients that support overall health and help manage health conditions, but they are also looking to avoid ingredients that they feel are unsafe or that have been raised/harvested/created in a way that is socially, ethically, or environmentally irresponsible. Accordingly, pet food marketers need to promote sought-after ingredients while ensuring their labels tell the full and true story.In related trends, Packaged Facts expects to see the progressive edge of superpremium pet food shift from the ingredient label to broader, more holistic concerns such as the preservation of natural nutrition (largely through fresh pet foods), and to see “superpremium” increasingly encompass the proactive involvement of prestige marketers and retailers in economic system, sustainability, and animal welfare initiatives.
  • Premiumized (Further) Cat Food – The dog food category has long been the primary focus of superpremium pet foods. In many cases, companies have introduced products for dogs and then spun off cat products almost as an afterthought (a case in point being grain-free), rather than building distinctive superpremium cat foods brands from the ground up. This is in obvious contrast to the best-selling mainstream cat food brands, such as Fancy Feast, Sheba, Friskies, and Meow Mix, all of which are tightly focused on cats and cat owners. Now that superpremium dog food has gone mainstream, it is time to turn the spotlight on our feline friends.Despite the plethora of cat food options on the market, many cats still suffer from conditions that could be alleviated with better quality, more focused nutrition. Not only is the feline digestive tract markedly different from the canine, cats tend to suffer urinary tract issues with much greater frequency. Misconceptions also abound regarding a cat’s need for hydration; periodontal issues are widespread (affecting 70 percent of cats over 2 years of age and 85 percent of those over 5); and cat obesity is at an all-time high. Many of these critical health issues can be helped or even resolved by a more nutritious diet. Because cat owners are increasingly informed about the health and nutritional needs of their cats, they are increasingly receptive to — and willing to pay more for — better quality products, leaving it to pet food makers to continually raise the health and wellness bar.




Webinar Replay: How One Store Reached the Top of the (Raw) Food Chain

Catch a PETS+ Live! webinar replay in which host Candace D'Agnolo hosts the owners of Ben’s Barketplace, the largest independent retailer of raw food in California. To see more PETS+ Live! webinars, visit

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Pet Food Startup Appears On ‘Shark Tank,’ Gets $550K Investment from Mark Cuban

The money comes from Mark Cuban.




BERKELEY, CA — Wild Earth, a biotech startup company focused on pet food, announced that it has accepted an investment of $550,000 from serial entrepreneur, investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban on the ABC hit SHARK TANK. The episode premiered Sunday, March 17, and is available on demand at for a limited time.

Cuban’s interest in Wild Earth stems from both his belief in scientific/technological solutions and his concern for environmental sustainability. Upon pitching the Sharks, Wild Earth had raised $4 million from both leading Silicon Valley and impact investors. Cuban’s ownership stake in Wild Earth is 10 percent.

“There’s an enormous potential market for lower-cost, sustainable protein to feed the growing worldwide pet population and Wild Earth is now the alpha dog in this space,” Cuban said.

Wild Earth’s treats, and its upcoming food for dogs, are made from eco-friendly and renewably sourced Koji (Aspergillus oryzae). Koji is a complete protein containing all ten essential amino acids dogs need, and requires dramatically fewer resources than farming animals to produce the same nutritional value. With 25-30 percent of meat’s environmental impact in the U.S. attributed to pet food, Wild Earth is developing alternatives to ensure we can sustainably nourish more than a billion pets by 2050.

“The Sharks were understandably tough on me, and questioned the need to create healthier and more sustainable products for our pets, but Mark, the biggest Shark of them all, understood our mission and the massive opportunity best,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “Mark and his team’s impact has already been huge — since their investment, we’ve successfully launched our first three products and gone nationwide both online and in retail.”

Cuban, owner of the 2011 World Champion Dallas Mavericks and the bestselling author of “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” is owner and chairman of AXS TV ( He co-owns the Landmark Theater chain, Magnolia Pictures, and Magnolia Home Video; founded HDNet,, and MicroSolutions; other successes include Mahalo,, Naked Pizza and For more information visit

Wild Earth’s Good Protein Dog Snacks are free of animal ingredients, antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, additives, fillers, and mystery ingredients. The veterinarian-developed formula offers omega fatty acids, digestion-boosting enzymes, and prebiotics to support gastrointestinal microbiomes.

Wild Earth treats are available in five-ounce bags online at, at select brick-and-mortar retail stores, and wholesale to pet food retailers.

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Grooming-Tools Brand Acquired

The tools will be rebranded and redesigned.




Fetch for Pets, a New York-based pet-product manufacturer, has purchased Spetacular grooming tools from Vu Promo Inc.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fetch designs, develops and distributes grooming liquids and tools as well as products in the categories of dental care, stain/odor control, waste management, toys, apparel, accessories, treats and more.

The Spetacular tools are widely distributed at Walmart stores. Fetch plans to rebrand and redesign the tools, incorporating proprietary bristles and making them more lightweight and ergonomic.

Spetacular plans to reintroduce the brand, with the products hitting shelves and by summer 2019.

The grooming tools will be for both dogs and cats. Their price range will be $7.99 to $9.99.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to enhance a retailer’s set,” said Steven Shweky, CEO of Fetch. “Seventy percent of our company is comprised of product developers whose sole focus is to innovate and bring something new and exciting to our retail partners.

“This is just the first of many new brand launches and overhauls we have lined up for 2019.”

Check out the company at Global Pet Expo booth 4067.

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Stop by the PETS+ Booth at Global, Play with a Puppy — and Maybe Even Find Your New Pet

Florida Little Dog Rescue will be at our booth all week.




Attending Global Pet Expo? Miss your pet?

Come to booth  4039 to get your free subscription to PETS+ Magazine and meet your new best friend.

Florida Little Dog Rescue will be at our booth all week! Play with a puppy,
get your furry fix, and maybe even take one home.

Exhibitors, if you’d like to donate to Florida Little Dog Rescue, be sure to stop by our booth.

Florida Little Dog Rescue is a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates unwanted, abused and abandoned little dogs and places them in loving and responsible homes to live out their lives as cherished family members.

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