Pets Market

How pet food makers are adapting to new consumer demands

The opportunity for UK food manufacturers in pet food is vast.

Data from Statista shows that as of 2023, as many as 57% of UK households own a pet. This makes the United Kingdom the second largest market for pet food in the world, behind only the US.

The UK dog food market alone is valued at almost £1.6bn, with cat food not far behind at £1.27bn.

As more and more people welcome new puppies and kittens into their homes, there is an increasing notion that a pet is more than just a furry acquaintance. This has, in turn, created new consumer demands on the pet food sector, requiring investment into raising standards, NPD, traceability and sustainability.

Pet owners demand human-grade food

Consumer research from global ingredients producer, BENEO, found that the vast majority of pet owners (8 in 10) claim to treat their pets with the same care as they would a child.

Furthermore, more than 80% also said that they now expect the same standards to be applied to the food they buy for their pets as to those applied to human food.

“Whether it’s sustainable, natural, plant-based or grain-free, consumers have come to expect the same high-quality credentials from their pet food products as they do their own,” ​explained Dr Maygane Ronsmans, product manager for animal nutrition at BENEO.

Ashley Burdock, head of sales at pet food industry supplier SARVAL, echoed this sentiment: “One of the fastest-growing trends among pet owners is the humanization of animals​.”

Today, pet owners want to know more about the food that they are feeding to their pets, and actively seek out pet food products that feature nutritional benefits.

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