One quarter of pet owners worry that the pet food they buy is making their pet obese, according to research firm Mintel.
Millennials are more inclined (37%) to worry than older generations that the pet food they are buying is making their pet obese.
Furthermore, over half (55%) of all pet owners agree they worry about filler ingredients in pet food, including grains and meat byproducts.
“Manufacturers should note that the pet food humanization trend translates into pet owners wanting the same quality and safety standards for pet food as for their own food,” Amy Kraushaar, U.S. category manager, food and drink and foodservice for Mintel said in a statement.
Total U.S. pet food category sales were $21 billion in 2014, an increase of 0.4 percent from 2013. Mintel forecasts the pet food market will grow to $22.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 9% from 2014.
About 70% of all households currently own a pet. Most pet owners (45%) base their pet food purchase decisions on whether or not they think their pet would like the taste of the pet food they buy. The second most important factor is price (42%), followed by whether or not the products were made in the U..S (36%) or are made with natural ingredients (32%).
More than half (55%) of pet owners are concerned about the amount of filler ingredients in pet food, such as grains and meat by-products. A comparable amount (49%) feel that the best diet for their pet is a “wild” diet - allowing their pet to eat only what they would have eaten in the wild, such as all-meat diets without artificial ingredients. Interest in pet foods that resemble “wild” diets is highest among Millennial pet owners, 56% of whom agree that such diets are best for their pets compared to 47% overall.
Pet owners also express interest in organic diets for their pets with 39% agreeing that organic pet food options are better than non-organic options. Furthermore, Millennials are more inclined (34%) to prepare their pet’s food from scratch (compared to 23% overall).
Pet treats are the fastest growing segment, which Mintel attributes to the fact that 45% of pet owners report that treats are their way of showing their pet they love them.
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