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Here Are 3 Pet Food Trends to Watch in 2019

Packaged Facts released a new report.

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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 Amazon.com and Chewy.com.

“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:

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  • 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 Jet.com. 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.

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Pet Sustainability Coalition

Pet Sustainability Coalition Presents: Critical Sustainability Strategies for Retailers

This webinar, held on November 7, 2019, is the second in a series from PSC discussing how retailers can establish sustainable practices in their business. Moderated by PSC’s Andrea Czobor, the webinar unveils data behind the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, what retailers have to gain from connecting with these purpose driven consumers, and a new PSC program that makes finding these products easier for retailers.

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Video: Brave Housecat Fends Off 3 Coyotes

This feline showed moxie.

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A cat in the Highland Park neighborhood could have been in serious trouble when three coyotes came along.

But Max, who belongs to Maya Gurrin, showed amazing courage, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Max was surrounded, and the coyotes were nipping at him. But Max showed no fear. He even caused one of the coyotes to back away and jump onto a nearby wall.

“He’s always been crazy,” Gurrin said. “Like, if this were to happen with any cat, it would be him.”

The entire scene was captured on security camera.

As tough as Max may be, his owners have nonetheless decided not to let him roam outdoors anymore.

Watch the video:

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Dogs May Be More Perceptive Than We Ever Realized, Study Finds

Even untrained strays can read human gestures.

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Dogs seem to be able to interpret human gestures even when they’ve had no training, a new study has found.

As any dog owner knows, pet canines understand commands and gestures with ease. A group of researchers set out to determine whether these capabilities are innate or require training, according to a report from Frontiers Science News.

The researchers looked specifically at pointing, with Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studing stray dogs in several Indian cities.

“The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them,” Frontieers Science News reports. “A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl.”

About 80 percent of participating dogs successfully followed pointing gestures.

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“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra was quoted saying. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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