The Assalco-Zoomark 2022 report, the most important survey of the pet food sector in Italy comes close to the inclusion of the protection of the environment and pets enshrined in Article 9 of the Italian Constitution which in its version, now updated, reads in 'last section: "[...] The law of the State governs the ways and forms of animal protection".
In addition to this important recognition, another fact that comes to attention is the increase in pets in the homes of Italians, who increasingly prefer cats (10.1 million vs 8.7 million dogs), with a constant increase in adoptions in the last 15 years (on average 2 cats for each dog adopted).
The new pet owners: educated and with good purchasing skills
The Assalco report analyzes what happened in 2021 and confirms the trend of the pandemic year with one million more adoptions in Italian homes. The new pet owner tends to spend more time with their four-legged friend and in 90% of cases they go to a professional veterinarian.
The opinion of veterinarians affects pet food choices
Veterinarians know the advantages of industrial production of pet food in purely nutritional terms and 97% recommend it to their users. Another interesting fact, which is recorded through the contribution of ANMVI (National Association of Italian Veterinary Doctors), is related to the progressive decrease in home-made food by pet owners for their four-legged friends, especially significant the decrease in home preparations for the cat, now reduced to 7%. More than 6,600 veterinarians have a dedicated pet corner, there could be many more, but the main limitations are regulatory and logistical.
A look at pets in Europe
The current Assalco-Zoomark report gives references to the pet world also in the rest of Europe where, according to Fediaf data (link), there are now 113 million cats and 93 million dogs. It is interesting to note that some of the data provided for the Italian market are extremely useful and indicative also for the markets of the EU area and more generally of the most advanced or evolving markets.
A greater growth in value rather than in volume, with differences in product types, formats and sales channels
The wet cat segment remains the most profitable in terms of absolute values, with double-digit growth in snacks dedicated to cats, a novelty in the sector that is penetrating thanks to greater diffusion in specialized pet shops.
The increase in value of the entire pet food sector (almost 2.42 billion euros, + 7.1%) exceeds the increase in volume achieved in 2021, with + 5%. It is interesting to note that at the moment the penetration capacity of pet food on the total of dogs and cats has reached 46.9%, with a percentage growth of 3.4% compared to 2020.
More than 50% of the turnover is realized in Northern Italy, Southern Italy remains at the bottom with just 17% but it should be noted that in absolute terms it is Southern Italy that records the greatest percentage increase compared to 2020 with the + 9.7%, a figure mainly driven by large-scale distribution.
Traditional pet shops still see a decline in sales in terms of volumes while the growth in value slows to + 0.4% compared to 2020. The channel is still confirmed today as the one that generates the most value for the dog segment with as much as 46% of the total. Still in traditional pet shops, in the face of the large amount of references present (1832, second only to Catene with 2689), there are fewer product references than the previous year and there is a decrease in sales for the dry cat (- 2.5% by value, -3.4% by volume).
In the choice of formats, the bag is confirmed as the most used packaging, while there is a growth in value and in volume greater than the sachet, to the detriment of the more traditional formats such as cans and trays.
The bag format records a trend that changes compared to the past with a preference on the part of the Italian market for sizes between 9 and 14 kg (+ 2.5% in value, + 2.8% in volume) considering the " traditional "escort" for superpremium products. Another record performance for all products below 0.6kg (+ 5.3% in value, + 8.8% in volume).
On the other hand, formats ranging from 0.6kg up to 1.5kg, considered intermediate formats, are in sharp decline.
Adragna's rebranding project for 2023
As anticipated in this article, the company will celebrate 50 years of business with a rebranding project that starts from innovation and sustainability to put pets more and more at the center. Our mission has already been defined because we firmly believe that love for cats and dogs will make the world a better place.
A perception also confirmed by the Italian pet owners who in the latest Assalco-Zoomark report declared that the presence of a dog or cat in their families improves psycho-physical health and well-being, an aspect that we will deepen in the next newsletters.