In an attempt to tap into the lucrative pet product market, estimated globally to be worth $95bn in 2012, pet food companies are creating products that emulate owners' dietary preferences and lifestyles – and American consumers in particular are showing interest.
In 2012, global market research firm Mintel found that 12% of new pet foods in the US boasted gourmet ingredients, compared to just 3% in 2005. Similarly, UK-based research firm Euromonitor found that consumers continue to be "ingredient-focused", gravitating towards premium products and "acting on the health and wellness concerns that affect their own food choices".
In January 2013, Switzerland-based food manufacturer Nestle introduced Pro Plan Sport dog food under its Purina label. Pro Plan Sport contains specially calculated quantities of fat and protein to support dogs that participate in their owner's active lifestyles, accompanying them on long-distance runs and hikes. In August 2012, US-based discount retailer Walmart debuted Pure Balance – a premium dog food that uses no soy, wheat or corn additives and avoids artificial colours and chicken by-products.
Prominent independent pet food brands in the US include V-Dog and Honest Kitchen (both based in California) and Florida's Halo Purely for Pets, all of which offer plant-based recipes. The raw diet, popular with humans, has also found its way into pet food. US-based lines like Oma's Pride from Connecticut dehydrate raw meats to preserve flavour and nutrients, while San Francisco-based Rawr bases its cat food recipes on raw, all-natural locally sourced meats and vegetables. Customisation is also an option; Ohio-based Petbrosia allows owners to create dog food tailored to breed, age and weight.
For more on innovative design for pets, see our recent report Pet Design: A Growing Market.