As the quality pet food gains more importance, pet food trends largely mimic human food ones.
Despite slowing economies around the world, a pandemic (which actually boosted sales), and rising prices, the pet food industry has grown steadily over the last few years. It’s still not a given that people will forever buy into the pet market in the same numbers.
In reality, pet food manufacturers could learn something from the experiences of certain human food companies as they try to ride out the current wave of consumer caution with their products. Innova Market Insights ranks “redefining value” as the top trend for the next year, with “affordable nutrition” coming in at number two.
Customers look for brands that reflect their own beliefs and ideals.
Trends expand upon existing ones. For example, the top trend, “redefining value,” is based on things that happened as far back as 2005-2006, like the “clean label” movement, which “led up” to bigger things like a focus on trust and openness. Customers are having to make hard choices because prices are going up, and businesses need to know how far customers are willing to go to get what they want.
Consumers in 11 countries (Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States) were surveyed by Innova in 2022. They said they would be willing to pay more for food products with fresh, locally grown ingredients that were also good for their health. At the very least, this last point should find favour with pet food manufacturers.
It’s vital to keep in mind that customers want brands that speak to their deepest values at a fair price, which might change based on several circumstances. It’s crucial to know your market’s values and financial constraints.
Keeping multiple mouths (human and animal) fed at a reasonable cost is essential.
The second trend identified by Innova is affordable nutrition, which presents a nearly unexplored potential for innovation outside of poor economies but is closely related to the first trend of redefining value. After all, food poverty is a major issue in industrialised nations as well (even for pets), and innovation is required to increase efficiency and yields to satisfy the need for high nutritional content at the correct price.
In the Innova poll, respondents ranked health (41%), cost (30%), and naturalness (28%) often associated with health in consumers’ minds as the most important factors in the introduction of new food and drink products. So, Innova has seen an annual growth rate of 86% in food and drink launches making some kind of cost-cutting promise.
Data like this, along with an examination of customers’ underlying beliefs, might help pet food companies find their way in the modern market. The market might splinter, with high-end buyers gaining ground at the cost of mainstream options.
Some types of homeowners are being priced out of the market because of the current inflation cycle, which is made worse by traditional stores reducing their stock of certain brands. For marketers to be successful in preventing demand from splitting in two, they must be astute enough to solve issues of price and accessibility while passing savings on to consumers.
Effects of health and wellness on product advertising and safety standards
Innova’s sixth-ranked “plant-based” trend has been on the human food list for a while, so it seems to sense that this would also be a factor in pet food. In the same vein, the ninth entry, “unpuzzle health,” refers to the difficulty that shoppers have in determining whether or not a product is healthy. If you want to know whether or not a product is good for you, Innova says you can trust the statements made on the packaging.
The function of regulations is crucial. The government is the fastest-moving trend driver. This is about human obesity and its relationship to food and drink, but it is well known that rules have and will continue to have a major impact on label claims on pet foods.
In the human food industry, Innova data shows that the introduction of products in 2022 that had a regulated nutrition warning label of some kind climbed by 69% year over year.
In a global study conducted by Innova, customers’ top two sources of information for determining a product’s healthiness were the ingredient list and the nutritional label. The data reveals the actions that customers believe businesses should take. Having it available is crucial because they will likely seek out opinions online and, right or wrong, locate what they think to be a trustworthy source of information. Some pet owners may benefit from these observations on consumer behaviour.
Consumers’ independent investigation is mentioned as another useful information source.
The next generation is the one pushing for change.
The “Generational Push” is also a reflection of the younger generation’s influence.
The market is responding to the demands of a new generation of shoppers: millennials. Generation Z and Millennials use their preferences in both food and brands as a way to express their personality and ideals. These groups tend to speak up forcefully and are used to having their opinions heard. Novel and cosmopolitan flavours are gaining the hearts of a youthful and adventurous audience, even as health becomes an increasingly key buying motivation, as it does across older generations. These buyers are eager to try something new and are very receptive to marketers’ efforts at establishing meaningful connections with them. The pet food industry is already having an effect, with a broader selection of products available to satisfy the demand for more specific niches and flavours.
It’s important to be open about the difficulties you’re facing.
Transparency, which has been on prior lists due to customer demand, is the focus of “positively imperfect,” the last trend on Innova’s 2023 list. When asked if they trusted brands more or less, 3 out of 5 customers answered they did. A dog food box that included writing detailing which parts of the packaging could be recycled or recyclable and which couldn’t and why both were good examples.
“Farming the future,” “quick quality,” “devouring digital,” and “revenge spending” are the other trends.