Globally, pet care industry is shaping up to be a lucrative domain owing to a widespread pet adoption trend. At a time when seamless access to veterinary care has ushered innovation, pet care companies are expected to harness technology and explore new business models to boost consumer reach. According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey of the America Pet Products Association, around 85 million households had a pet, indicating the tremendous regional demand for products like pet food and medicines.
With the millennial and Gen Z population going into adulthood, they are profoundly accepting pet ownership. Thriving pet care businesses are cashing in on the prevailing trends through the advent of online sales, demand for premium brands and enhanced grooming products.
It is estimated that global pet care market size will reach USD 350 billion in value by 2027.
Role of physical stores and subscription services
Physical stores are expected to remain a key target area for pet food and toy producers. The ecosystem is such that several niche brands are doing away with the orthodox multi-brand retailers. What has caught the attention is the availability of premium pet foods into grocery and dollar stores in regions like Europe and North America, improving the convenience for pet owners.
Consumers are exploring opportunities in healthy ingredients, opting for frozen, fresh and made-to-order pet diets. The future of the pet care industry may be all about healthy products, high-quality toys and treats. While the market is mainly targeted for dogs and cat, owners of other companion animals are gradually witnessing the emergence of suitable products, suggesting a wider scope of pet care market.
Recently, the e-commerce sector has become a common media to purchase pet care products during the COVID-19 crisis, The trend for subscription box has arrived in the realm of pet care service providers. These services is customizable based on animal sensitivities and provide supplements, toys, chews, treats and accessories, representing a promising growth avenue for pet care industry players.
Navigating pet care requirements with medicated pet food
Gone are the days when pets were treated as companion animals. Households across the world have made them a part of the family member. In doing so, veterinary care has been at the helm of things in the past several years, driving pet care industry trends to some extent. Veterinary expenses such as physical therapy, food, diagnosis, prescription drugs, dental cleaning, surgical procedures, deworming and heartworm tests have become pronounced.
Functional pet foods are setting the trend as pet food companies are striving to develop food and treats with an ocean of health upsides. Functional ingredients are foraying into all sorts of pet food formulations. Pet food and products are introduced with the functional properties, including benefits to the nervous system, joints & muscles and immune system.
Groundbreaking technological advancements will take precedence in the veterinary care industry. With the number of obese pets on the rise, vets are placing these four-legged friends on calorie-restricted diets. It is also worth noting that niche pets such as horses, fish and birds have come through the ranks.
Medicated pet food products will gain momentum to counter the risks associated with an unhealthy pet. For example, Hills Pet Nutrition, a Colgate-Palmolive company, producers prescription diet suitable to different pets. The products cater to different conditions like kidney support, digestive care, food sensitivities, urinary problems and other issues. Although most pet food products like these are given after recommendation from a vet, increasing awareness among consumers will bolster medicate pet food industry outlook.
Strong preference for functional and sustainable products
Pet owners are behaving more like pet parents—age-specific foods and treats are rekindling interest among them. Pet food companies are tapping opportunities into clean label products, signifying the tag of transparency in the pet food market. The clean labels involve a “no preservatives/additives” claim. Moreover, expectations of pet owners have transitioned from natural ingredients to warranting access to information about processing and sourcing.
Pet food innovations allude to the trend for sustainability, throughout the supply chain management process. Pet owners are buying the idea of sustainable packaging with environmental and ethical claims. Brands are rethinking their ecological footprint about packaging as pet parents consider eco-friendly packaging an essential parameter to foster recyclability.
As pet owners vie to minimize their environmental pawprint, companies are introducing products in lighter packages, or sustainable materials. For instance, Printpack rolled out sustainable pet food packaging in October 2020. They claim 71% of consumers regard sustainable packaging as “more important than ever.” The Atlanta-based company is using packaging from renewable sources, including trees, sugar cane or corn.
Innovations in pet food packaging have also stemmed from researches. Notably, a team of Purdue University introduced a green nanomaterial derived from natural sources to enhance the dispersion of materials in polymers. The technique could be helpful in pet food packaging.
The road ahead
Both niche brands and big companies are expected to walk the walk during the pandemic. According to the October 2020 report of the Insurance Research Council, around 30% of Americans adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet merchants who will prioritize trends such as better quality products, sustainable food packaging and customized diets will have the biggest advantage. And with technologies such as telemedicine flexing its muscles, the pet care industry share is expected to expand even further.
As more attention is paid to pet care, pet hotels, pet grooming and other services, a seismic rise in millennial pet owners and the trend for pet technologies, such as wearables, will be observed. Pet technologies will add to the pet care market trends, including GPS trackers, activity monitors, accelerometer sensors and RFID sensors. Pet insurance policies will witness increased demand among consumers, with higher risk of illness and the promise of affordable veterinary care services.