A recent global study, conducted by market research company Wizer on behalf of Beneo, has reportedly found dog and cat owners are prioritising natural pet foods with additional health benefits. The survey included 2,500 dog and cat owners in the UK, USA, Brazil, Germany and China.
The research suggests pet food trends are mirroring those in human nutrition. It demonstrates market potential for the use of clean label, health-promoting and no- or low-allergenic ingredients, with sustainability and plant-based origin also now of increasing importance.
According to the survey, consumers are increasingly considering natural aspects when buying food for their pets. Using less or no additives makes products appear healthier for more than 4 in 5 pet owners. The findings also demonstrate natural ingredient claims have a significant influence on purchase prospects, with 79% of pet owners checking the label for ingredients they dislike. Many potential customers are also calling on brands to make it easier to track what’s contained within pet foods, making this an important area of focus for producers.
The research also suggests a spotlight is also being placed on allergenic ingredients. Three quarters of pet owners agree using no allergens, such as soy or corn, makes food for pets seem healthier.
More than 90% of pet owners say that supporting digestive health improves the likelihood of them purchasing a product, inducing them to actively look for easy-to-digest products. Demand for prebiotics is also increasing, with 70% of respondents agreeing adding such fibres to pet food makes it seem healthier.
Another consumer trend now reflected in the the realm of pet foods is sustainability. According to the survey, using claims such as “environmentally friendly” improves consumer interest in buying a pet food product.
Maygane Ronsmans, Product Manager Animal Nutrition at Beneo, said: “The findings of this latest pet survey highlight the rising demand from owners for understandable, cleaner ingredients labels and for healthier nutrition for their pets. We are also seeing this reflected through the rising number of customers favouring Beneo’s clean label and hypoallergenic rice starches and proteins, which are the ideal plant-based solutions for premium pet foods.
“The technical properties of our functional rice ingredients allow producers to use them as natural ingredients, and their nutritional benefits make them suitable for sensitive pets, or those with allergies. The combination of Beneo’s natural and plant-based ingredients and its expertise in healthy nutrition help manufacturers bring to market new and relevant pet food products that meet these consumer demands.”