Most pet food formulas were once listed as good for all life stages, but evidence-based clinical nutrition has prompted pet food manufacturers to increase efforts on food for every stage of life. The popularity and demand for these life stage diets have since been strong, but with pet owners facing tougher financial times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will these premium dog foods fall from favor?
Here’s what three pet industry insiders project for the category:
"I think COVID-19 could possibly affect sales in all categories. COVID-19 has been a life changer for the entire world and will continue to dominate our lives for weeks and possibly months to come. Many will be facing serious financial difficulty when this is over. Some may have difficult decisions facing them about future purchases when it comes to their pets. Although we learned in the great recession of 2008 that the pet food industry is relatively recession proof, many will be in much tougher financial situation this time. A genuine concern is that some loyal to brand may have a hard time affording it once this crisis is over. We are in uncharted waters and not sure how long this will last."—Rob Downey, president of Annamaet Petfoods in Sellersville, Pa.
"I would not imagine it would make much of an impact, other than perhaps decrease slightly because, in our case, we are just doing curbside pickup at the moment so people are not in the store looking at all of the possible foods, but rather getting their ‘usual.’ Also, people with multiple dogs might be feeding one food now for simplicity or price point."—Marsha Vallee, co-owner of Noble Beast in Phoenix
"While the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, our goal, as a global pet food company, is to support every pet possible. We have been inspired by the work of pet shelters, veterinary professionals, retailers and pet parents who have come together in their communities to care for our furry friends during this uncertain time. Through our Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love program, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network and in conjunction with animal welfare partners, we are donating pet food to pantry partners, shelters and other nonprofit partners who are caring for pets as the situation continues to evolve. We will continue to monitor the situation in the days and weeks ahead, responding as needed to care for pets and the people who love them."—Kathy Gross, Ph.D., worldwide director of clinical nutrition at Hill’s Pet Nutrition in Topeka, Kan.