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Packaged Facts: Organic Pet Food Poised for Expansion


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Despite obstacles in the organic pet food market, the category is poised for expansion, according to a Packaged Facts report.

In the report, Natural, Organic, and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 6th Edition, Packaged Facts identifies a few main reasons why organic pet food has yet to achieve significant market penetration, which include:

Supply issues: The recent growth in popularity of organic foods in human markets means that suppliers are already stretched thin. Add to this the issue that many ingredients in pet foods, such as fish and other more novel proteins, are not readily available in organic form, and simply finding enough organic ingredients can be problematic for pet food makers seeking entry into the organic segment.

High prices: As anyone who has purchased human organic food products knows, organic products cost more. Higher quality ingredients mean higher prices, and pet food companies may be gun-shy about marketing what could amount to a super-superpremium product price-wise.

Organic regulations complicate: With no firm federal mandate dictating what constitutes an organic pet food, pet food marketers seeking to use the organic label must adhere to human organic food standards. Rather than face regulatory scrutiny, pet food marketers may instead decide that it's easier to label a product "natural" and call it a day.

There are signs, however, that at least some of the challenges facing organic pet food may soon be remedied. From the regulation standpoint, there are signs that organic pet food standards are moving through the approval process in the National Organic Program. Additionally, demand from the human side of the market has been prompting more interest in organic agriculture and manufacturing practices, possibly increasing the supply of organic products.

Packaged Facts believes that as the obstacles to organic pet food diminish, the likelihood that organic will become the "next big thing" in natural pet food increases exponentially. On the human side, retailers Kroger and Costco have taken the extraordinary step of investing in farms to ensure long-term supply of store-brand organic products, and under Nestlé Purina, Merrick's well-established organic brand, Castor & Pollux, has gained access to the resources of one of the largest pet food producers on the planet. As natural pet food marketers seek to distinguish themselves from the rest of the natural pack, offering organic options may soon become a next logical step, according to Packaged Facts.

Building on the analysis presented in the previous five editions of this report, Packaged Facts’ fully updated sixth edition of Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S. covers historical and projected retail sales estimates through 2021, competitive strategies of key players, and trends in new product development such as grain-free, grass-fed, superfood ingredients, human-grade, raw pet food (including freeze-dried and dehydrated), eco-friendly nonfood pet products, corporate sustainability initiatives, and retail channel trends.

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