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“Free From” Pet Food Helps Drive Market


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According to a new report from market researcher Packaged Facts, grain-free pet foods account for approximately one third of dog and cat food sales in the pet specialty channel, translating to more than $2 billion in sales in that segment.

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According to a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, Pet Food in the U.S., 12th Edition, the rise of pet food marketed with “free from” label claims that mirror those increasingly prevalent on products made for humans is helping to drive growth in the $30 billion pet food industry. 

“The human/animal bond phenomenon and the humanization of pets continue to be twin key catalysts for growth in the pet food industry,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts. “They affect many aspects of the industry, such as marketing messages, corporate philosophies, acquisition strategy, packaging and product attributes such as flavor and ingredients for pet food. As an extension of these trends, pet owners are highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves. Not coincidentally, many of the pet food entering the market today are directly reminiscent of human fare, no doubt appealing to the pet owner as much as the pet.”

Possibly the most widespread of these “free from” products is grain-free pet food, and in the U.S., grain-free claims are a must-have component for natural pet food product lines, states Packaged Facts. According to various estimates by the market research company, grain-free pet foods account for approximately one third of dog and cat food sales in the pet specialty channel, translating to more than $2 billion in sales in that segment. The past year has seen several grain-free pet food introductions, including Spring Natural’s grain-free dry dinners for dogs and cats, Evanger’s expanded Super Premium Dinners line for cats that now features three new grain-free and gluten-free exotic protein formulas, and Wellness Natural Pet Food’s new Wellness TruFood.

Several other free-from claims populate the industry, including gluten free, corn free, soy free, non-GMO, potato/starch free, and claims of no by-products, artificial ingredients, etc. According to the Packaged Facts November/December 2015 National Pet Owner Survey, dog and cat owners say they are currently using a number of free-of pet foods; the top free-of claims used by dog owners are non-GMO and grain free/gluten free. For cat owners, the top free-of claim is no fillers/byproducts.

For more information about Pet Food in the U.S., 12th Edition or to purchase the report, click here

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