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Pet food innovation mimicking human trends of snacking and clean eating

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A majority of pet owners tend to liken their animals’ needs to their own, meaning recent consumer developments such as ‘clean eating’ and snacking trends are being integrated into the diets of cats, dogs and other popular pets.

Research and consulting firm GlobalData’s new report highlights how humanisation is creating an exciting innovation platform from which to launch products better targeted towards pet owners, providing brands with new routes to premiumisation which evolve in line with human trends.

Melanie Felgate, Senior Consumer Analyst for GlobalData, comments: “Owners are seeking out pet products which they identify with. For example, if a pet owner’s consumption habits feature lots of snacks, they will buy lots of snacking treats for their animal, or if the owner eats only gluten-free food, the same goes for their furry friend.”

Considering two-thirds of consumers globally now own a pet, according to GlobalData’s 2016 Q4 survey, brands must respond to the evolving lifestyle choices and habits of their owners to capitalise on this lucrative market.

Pet snacking, for example, presents a key opportunity for pet food brands. Humans no longer rely on the traditional three meals a day, with 72% snacking at least occasionally between meals, according to GlobalData’s 2015 Q4 global consumer survey.

This sentiment rises to 82% among pet owners specifically, with the main motivation to snack cited as being to treat or reward oneself.

Felgate explains: “Snacking habits are being passed on, as owners look to treat their pets while also indulging themselves. Given snacking levels vary by day-part, there is a chance to broaden consumption occasions by targeting pet snacks towards specific times of day

Another “humanised” trend identified by GlobalData is clean eating. The “clean” movement is growing as consumers seek natural products, free from artificial ingredients, chemicals and toxins.

With almost half of pet owners surveyed by GlobalData in Q1 2017 highly attentive to the ingredients used in pet products, an opportunity exists for brands to utilise “clean” messaging and cues to capitalise on the trend, and address the needs of growing numbers of consumers seeking a “cleaner” lifestyle for themselves and their pets.

Felgate comments: “Pet food brands are moving into the ‘clean’ space by using natural ingredients, promoting the use of single protein sources, and using more plant-based ingredients in formulations.

Purina Beyond puree in the US, for example, contains only natural, human-grade ingredients, with fruit and vegetable based flavors such as beef and berry, and chicken and carrot.”

Information based on GlobalData’s report: Top Trends in Pet Products 2017: Exploring latest innovation trends in pet food and pet care.

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