During the pandemic, many of us adopted furry family members - millions of them. Most of these pets are still in comfortable homes. This increase in the number of pet companions translated into an increase in the demand for pet food. High-quality pet food is the choice for many to feed the loving companion who stayed by their side during "lockdown" and helped their humans with their mental health.
At about the same time that American households welcomed furry family members, the pet food sector was suffering like many other sectors. Supply chain issues caused problems for pet food companies. When supply is low and demand is high, Econ 101 tells us that prices go up. It's no surprise then that the pet food industry was valued at $94.76 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand over 4% year over year, according to Grand View Research. The U.S. market grew by almost $2 billion from 2020 to 2021.
Dog food accounts for over 41.5% of the global pet food market. Canned food is taking up less shelf space than ever before. It's palatable to dogs and contains proteins and fats, with a few carbohydrates. It's easy to digest and is preferable to finicky eaters.
Dry dog food, "kibbles" is experiencing rapid demand growth, likely due to its convenience in terms of storage and feeding pets without creating a mess. This is especially true in urban areas. Dry food can help remove tarter from a dog's teeth as they chew. It is also believed that chewing releases serotonin in dogs which is an added benefit that most may not realize.
Organic dog food continues to gain popularity, seeing $22.8 billion in sales in 2020. A major factor in this expansion is that increasing consumer awareness regarding pet food ingredients has forced manufacturers to shift their focus from synthetic to natural products. Organic food may be the dominant variety in the future.
Many big-name pet food companies are constantly striving to make food that improves the quality of your pet's life. Companies that once used fillers and artificial ingredients, now produce more natural options in an effort to produce a better diet. They recognize that demand for a premium for higher-quality food for beloved pets translates into a willingness to pay more for the product.
Customer focus is also placed on controlling the weight of dogs and maintaining their overall health. As pet food scientists improve pet food, we see a dramatic increase in organic options, including fresh, raw, homemade, and freeze-dried diets.
According to Pet Food Industry, the vegan dog food market is projected to grow significantly in the coming years. They estimate that more than 10% of pet owners feed their dogs plant-based diets. Vegan pet food options are very controversial but continue to increase in popularity. As animal rights and global warming activists continue to raise awareness of the meat trade, they want to eliminate meat from their pets' diets.
Millennials steal the number one slot for pet owners, making up 32%. Their children will likely want pets, so the number of pet households will likely increase as time goes on. The pet food industry will also continue to grow and become more valuable. Future generations will have more options for healthy pet food, including organic diets, specialized diets, and tailored meal plans.
Pet food companies are thriving in 2022, with Mars Petcare Inc. taking the lead at $18,085,000,000 in total revenue. Nestle Purina Pet Care, J.M. Smucker, HillsPet Nutrition, and General Mills round out the top five companies. Makers of some of our favorite candy, cereal, and jams also dominate the pet food industry.
Many small companies have emerged to cater to the needs and demands of owners and there is still room in the market for additional entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will continue to force quality changes in the pet food industry that will certainly benefit Fido. Bredwell, Ltd. might be one of those companies.
Something to remember: more expensive pet food doesn't necessarily mean better quality. Be sure you check the ingredient list to confirm that the contents of the food are worth the cost.