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What does the Humanization of Pets mean for Pet Food?

One of the growing trends we are seeing in the pet industry today is the rapid humanization of pets within the family circle. So what does this mean?

As the largest generation of pet owners changes from Baby Boomers to Millennials, we are seeing the attitude toward pet ownership change as well. Instead of using pets for functional purposes such as pest control or being an occasional source of comfort, they are becoming more and more a part of the every day family routine. Dogs are no longer sleeping outside in dog houses, and are instead sleeping on the end of the bed (or right next to the owner!).

The idea of pets becoming more humanized is proven in many ways including the "pet parent" versus "pet owner" debate and the percentage of pet owners who are willing to spend more of their discretionary income on pet care products

Since pet humanization is clearly on the rise, how is it affecting the pet food industry?

Humanization of Pet Food

According to Pet Food Industry, a whopping 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be a part of the family. Now that so many owners are considering themselves parents, the pet food industry is finally starting to catch up.

As consumers start treating their pets more like children, more consideration is being taken on the quality of food they are feeding. Pet owners are purchasing and feeding foods that more closely relate to diets they would eat themselves. Because of this, trends such as natural and grain-free, limited ingredients, and even raw frozen diets emerge and affect how dogs and cats are being fed.

Pet food manufacturers are re-evaluating every part of the food manufacturing process from ingredients used to the quality of the factory making the food. While this is great news for the pets, these extra considerations do come at a cost. Fortunately for the pet food manufacturers, Millennials are willing to spend more on their pets than ever, especially if it means they will be getting higher quality food for their "fur babies."

Related Article: How to Make Money off of Current Pet Food Trends

Case-In-Point: Human-Quality Food for Pets

As a human, when shopping for your meat, what are you likely to look for? Other than cut, size, and percentage of fat, you may also be looking at number of ingredients. You're probably thinking, "Number of ingredients? Why would I need to look for that - I just buy meat, which is just one ingredient!" Exactly. When you're shopping for your meat, you're probably not going to buy anything for yourself, or your family, that includes extra and unnecessary additives. You're just going to be looking for one ingredient: Meat.

This is what the humanization of pet food is all about. Pet owners are shopping for their pet's food just like they would be their own food. Applaws Pet Food is an example of a manufacturer that has picked up on this. Much of their dog and cat food doesn't contain any more than four ingredients (i.e. Tuna with Seaweed, fish broth, and a small amount of rice to make it less watery) and is all made in a human-grade factory. What does this mean? Well, if you really like tuna and seaweed, take a bite! Or maybe just opt for the chicken + broth option, something you might find in the supermarket section if it just had salt (cats don't like salt - humans do).

Related Article: The Benefits of Having Limited Ingredients in Pet Food

Let's Not Forget About the Small Pets

Even small animals are getting more attention these days. As small animal owners are becoming more educated on the proper care of their pets, they are realizing which fruits and vegetables are good for their small furry and which may not be. Small animal owners are also demanding more transparency when it comes to the exact ingredients found in their pet food. Additionally, they are using the internet to research why their pets may be selectively eating, and deciding to feed more fibrous mono-component food versus the controversial muesli which currently controls the marketplace.

Supreme Petfoods is a manufacturer who is also aware of this trend. Along with the re-brand of their Tiny Friends Farm line of everyday small animal food, they worked to reformulate all of their muesli in order to get rid of any controversial ingredients. With Supreme's in-depth analysis of healthy small animal diets, the Tiny Friends Farm line was able to become one of the only small pet foods which does not contain controversial or harmful ingredients. Additionally, a strong emphasis is placed on both their Science Selective and Tiny Friends Farm lines to be great for both the pet and the owner to help establish a bond similar to a parent and their children.

Related Article: Engaging Shoppers with the Small Animal Category

With pet food accounting for up to 76% of the pet care industry, it's important to stay on top of current trends and the demands of consumers. Pet owners are treating their pets as a part of their family, so it's important to recognize those brands who encourage that behavior. If you'd like more information on one of the brands mentioned in this post, please reach out and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Hoffman – E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Manager joined the All Points family in April of 2015. Ashley brings a fresh outlook to the marketing industry as well as a constant desire for learning something new. She is dedicated to consistently improving her skills and efficiency in the marketing industry and using those skills to promote APM and all brands we represent. Ashley has grown up with many animals throughout her life and is currently the loving owner of two cats.

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