Sales of dog and cat treats are growing at a faster rate than pet food, according to Mintel analysts who suggest that retailers position these products near checkout aisles and other high traffic areas to incite impulse purchases.
“We are definitely seeing interest in pet treats that have natural, organic or unique flavors that align more with human food as pet owners are willing to spend on the best for their pet companions,” said Mintel’s senior food and drink analyst John Owen, and associate analyst Rebecca Cullen, in an email response.
Cat treats in particular have a lot of growth potential, according to the analysts, who note that cat treat dispensers that combine treats with play offer an interesting way to encourage more cat owners to offer treats to their cats on a regular basis.
Although cat owners are less likely than dog owners to say that if they had extra money they’d spend it on their pet, cat owners are just as likely as dog owners to treat their pet as a member of the family and enjoy giving them treats, according to the report. It found that close to three in five (59%) American households own at least one pet and owners spend $67.5 billion per year on them.
Mintel also suggests playing up the training benefits of certain treats. Its report found that close to three-fourths (73%) of pet owners agree that pets need to be well disciplined to thrive, but the same percentage (73%) gives their pet treats for no particular reason.
“Treats used to reinforce good behavior can make pet owners feel good about spoiling their pets in ways that support training efforts,” according to the report.