Pet food and treat trends

There are a few important aspects to keep in mind when looking to boost sales for your pet food and treat business.

Dog paws standing in front of food bowl filled with kibble.
Photo by Matty Coulton for Gentle Dog Trainers via

According to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 70% of households in the U.S. own a pet, which equates to roughly 90.5 million homes. The APPA also reported that consumers spent $103.6 billion in 2020 on pets and $42 billion of that was on pet food and treats. Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, reported that pet food sales have risen 20% since 2016 and expects it to rise another 16% in the next six years. They find the pet treats segment, which includes pet food toppers, to be the key driver in this trend.

Mintel points to product development and marketing strategies that pet food and pet treat entrepreneurs can use to increase their sales. The first key to increasing pet food and treat sales is marketing the need for daily use of pet treats and toppers to maximize pet health, according to Mintel’s “Pet Food, US – 2021” report. 

A second opportunity for driving pet food sales is to emphasize that a product addresses pet health, which is the largest interest of pet consumers, according to Mintel. Gut health, specifically, “has the potential to have a big impact not only on overall pet health and wellness, but also on pet food marketing due to its connection to many different aspects of pet health, such as skin and coat health, immunity support, weight management and even calming and anxiety relief,” reports Mintel.

A third opportunity that Mintel points to is attention to sustainability. “Nearly 3 in 10 pet owners say they would like to see more sustainably sourced pet foods, especially younger, highly engaged pet owners, who are poised to influence the pet food market for years to come,” reports Mintel. Avenues highlighted by Mintel for addressing sustainability are identifying the advantages of using animal byproducts as an ingredient for nutritional content and the health of the earth. A second avenue Mintel mentions is exploring alternative protein sources that utilize insects, invasive species, and plants.  Learn more about sustainability research in the next article on pet food and treats.

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s Product Center can guide potential food product producers in development of necessary paperwork for a process authority review (PAR) and licensing. The MSU Product Center is an organization that brings together on-campus expertise in the sectors of food, agriculture, and natural resources to help entrepreneurs define and launch innovative products. Field-based innovation counselors advise entrepreneurs on business planning, regulatory requirements, and product development needs. To access business development assistance, select the “Become a Client” button on the MSU Product Center website or call (517) 432-8750.

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