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In the pet category, this can mean that retailers sometimes overlook one of the largest categories in pet – premium pet food – which includes trusted, iconic brands like Dog Chow®, Cat Chow®, Friskies® and Beneful®. In fact, Cat Chow is the number one dry cat brand in the U.S. based on dollar sales1 and Dog Chow has the number one SKU in the dry dog category2 . These brands are true pet food powerhouses.
The pet category is booming. Over the last three years, the pet population in the U.S. has also grown by a little more than four percent and has added 7.5 million mouths to feed, which brings the total number of dogs and cats in the U.S. to 185 million. Consequently, the pet care category continues to grow at near record highs. As of October 8, 20223 , the pet care category has seen a 16 percent increase in sales versus the previous year. This strong growth is also seen in the premium pet food category with many of Purina’s premium pet food brands showing double-digit growth with most actually exceeding the total category growth.
But what does that mean for retailers? In the dog category, premium dry dog food has the second highest number of households, and the highest pound buying rate. On average, the premium dog food household purchases 139 pounds of dog food each year, which is 38 pounds more than that of the value dog buying household. That is a lot of dog food! The premium dry cat food category has the highest household count with roughly 19.7 million households buying premium cat food in 20214 . On average, the premium dry cat households buy an average of 62 pounds of dry cat food a year, which is 63 percent more than super premium buyers.
When we look at grocery and mass stores, we also know that the majority of puppy and kitten owners start their pets off with premium dry food nutrition. Puppy Chow® and Kitten Chow® are the household leaders in puppy and kitten nutrition, and these brands are specially formulated to meet the unique nutrition needs puppies and kittens have during their first year of life to support their rapid growth and development. With such a large buying power, it is no wonder the premium segment has such a large impact on the total pet food category.
As we look ahead to the impact of ongoing inflation, we know that the premium pet food category will be key for consumers and retailers. The core consumers within the premium segment are the most loyal to their brand of any segment. This high degree of loyalty and confidence in these iconic brands means that premium pet food shoppers are not likely to switch.
It is important that retailers offer a variety of the premium formulas these consumers prefer and in the sizes they want. Retailers carrying the premium dog and cat food products their consumers desire are able to turn shoppers into loyal consumers who know they don’t have to look beyond your store to find what their pets need. Are you allocating the right space in your store to value, premium, and super premium pet products? To learn more, reach out to your Purina sales associate.