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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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Dog Daycare Franchise to Serve 750 Employees on a Corporate Campus

It opened at Wolverine Worldwide in Rockford, MI.

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PHOENIX — The Dogtopia pet franchise has announced the unveiling of its first Dogtopia @ Work campus. The dog daycare and spa-only location is exclusive to the employees at Wolverine Worldwide in Rockford, MI, and will bring the company-subsidized dog daycare to its 750 employees.

With more than 100 locations across North America, the brand is “the fastest-growing provider of specialty dog daycare,” according to a press release. The Wolverine Worldwide dog daycare center is operated by franchisee Tim Parker, who also owns Dogtopia of Grand Rapids.

“Wolverine Worldwide’s employees asked, and the leadership team listened. Dog daycare was the top benefit request among its 750 workers. We’re thrilled to directly meet that need conveniently on site,” said Neil Gill, president and CEO of Dogtopia. “The corporate campus model makes perfect sense as companies seek to be pet-friendly without having to manage which dogs are current on vaccinations, remaining respectful to those with allergies and removing the risk associated with dogs of different sizes and temperaments in common areas together. This is a win-win as it provides these employees safe socialization, exercise and education for their dogs while providing Dogtopia a brand-new channel for us to share our quality daycare service.”

“It’s important for us to continue to invest in our workplace environment in a way that aligns with our values as an employer of choice, and enriches the daily experience and quality of life of our workforce,” said Blake W. Kreuger, Wolverine Worldwide Chairman, CEO, and President.

“We’re extremely excited to have Dogtopia’s presence and friendly staff at our global headquarters to provide pristine care for our employees’ pets while they help drive our business forward.”

 

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Holistic Pet Food Firm Acquired by CBD Company

The Halo management team will remain in place.

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NEW YORK — Better Choice Co. Inc., an animal health and wellness CBD company, announced an agreement to acquire holistic pet foods firm Halo, Purely for Pets.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Halo is a well-established, premium brand and falls squarely in line with our goal to build an all-encompassing, global, animal health and wellness consumer product goods company,” said Damian Dalla-Longa, CEO of Better Choice. “Over the last three decades, Halo has built a strong reputation and loyal consumer following, carving out a niche in the industry with high-quality animal products that contain whole food meat and fish and non-GMO ingredients. We look forward to working with their team to close the transaction and integrate their brand into our operating and marketing platform.”

The Halo management team, led by branded consumer food and animal health veteran CEO Werner von Pein, will continue to manage the Halo business. Halo’s name and brands are not expected to change as a result of the transaction.

“Better Choice is the ideal partner for Halo and this combination comes at an exciting time for our company,” said Werner von Pein, CEO of Halo. “As the Better Choice team brings a wealth of experience in animal health and growing consumer brands, we are eager to leverage that expertise and continue to expand our company’s footprint, while maintaining Halo’s unwavering commitment to product quality and to our pet parents’ experience.”

Bruce Linton, special advisor to the company, said: “This is a transformational acquisition for Better Choice that will help accelerate the build out of our animal health platform. The team, market and capital are aligned on the opportunity to create a world class business at BTTR, with responsible revenue growth and an ambitious research, data and analytics strategy.”

Better Choice Co.’s brands include TruPet, TruGold and Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog. Its product lines include ultra-premium, all-natural pet food, treats and supplements, with a focus on freeze dried and dehydrated raw products.

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‘Uber Pet’ Feature Launches in 7 Cities

It lets users match with drivers who welcome animals.

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Uber is testing a feature that allows users to match with drivers who welcome four-legged riders.

It’s called Uber Pet, and it’s debuting in seven cities, VenureBeat reports. The cities are Austin, Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Tampa Bay.

Riders using the feature, which will be visible within the app, will pay an extra $3 to $5, according to VentureBeat.

Until now, Uber drivers have been required to accept service dogs but have otherwise had discretion as to whether to accept pets.

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CBS Philly writes that “drivers who agree to pick up riders with pets will receive a portion of the surcharge, on top of their base fare earnings.”

VentureBeat notes that with the service, the company is “looking to smooth the communications process between riders and drivers regarding pet transport.”

Read more at VentureBeat

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