Pet parents in 2022 are facing epochal challenges by having more furry relatives at home. Unfortunately, news of 10% of abandonments in kennels is starting to arrive in the face of adoptions between 2020 and 2021 in Italy while from the American market, which anticipates the trends of the European market and then the global ones, a strong growth in the value of the sector driven by two well-strengthened trends:
From one side , pet shops and increasingly specialized chains, on the other side e-commerce and large-scale distribution with an increasingly wide range of offers. Let's take a closer look at some of the data that emerged from the Assalco-Zoomark 2022 and from sector research on the American market
Premium, super premium and "humanification"
Over the past 15-20 years, the European pet food market has observed some changes in the attitude of pet owners towards their purchasing decisions.
The purchase decisions of pet owners are increasingly divided between first-rate pet food on the one hand and high-end or even very high-end products on the other, while the so-called medium range is slowly but gradually disappearing.
In the prime price range, price competition between manufacturers is decidedly stiff, and made even tougher by the retail trade.
An increasing percentage of pet owners are looking for "special" products (organic, vegetarian, functional-healthy, sustainable, zero-kilometer, anti allergic, etc.), just as happens in the human food sector.
The result of these pet owners' attitudes is that numerous products stand out from the more common ones: multinationals adapt their established brands accordingly, numerous small companies promote their special and niche products that appeal to consumers, and private label manufacturers significantly increase their market share by turning more and more to the high-end segment.
A clarification is expected within the next year regarding the transposition of the new European legislation, signed at the end of 2021, on the claims deemed valid by the European Union with respect to the indications on functionality and green impact on the production chain in general and pet food in particular.
From the USA, on the other hand, more and more researches confirm the trend that assimilates the pet food sector to that linked to human nutrition and even more specifically dedicated to newborns. Colors, claims and even the choice of some ingredients follows human nutritional trends and in light of the global raw materials crisis, the next challenge, cultural and nutritional, will involve the introduction of flours from insects.
It is interesting to note that pet owners are on average more attentive to issues relating to the impact of human activities on the environment, a feature that seems to affect Asian markets in an ever faster way, where the transition from dog to cat at a higher level. Family members started later than the rest of the world but it is certainly accelerating more than in other parts of the world.
The European Green Deal will impact pet food in the short and medium term
The total ban on combustion vehicles on European soil for 2035 has made it clear that the European Union intends to have an impact on world industrial policies in a short time and pet food is one of the sectors that will be affected by this epochal revolution.
Climate change requires action on all fronts and the pet food industry, using the surplus of the human food sector to make safe and nutritious products for millions of pets, exploits products that should otherwise be burn down . It has therefore been a sustainable industry for decades. In addition, the European pet food industry has been chosen by the EU for the development of the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for Pet Food (dry / wet cat food / dogs), approved in 2018 to calculate their environmental impact based on the analysis of the life cycle and the new rules on waste disposal and recycling and zero km transport management derive from pet food.
The identikit of pet parents for the next 10 years
In some languages there is still no definition that takes into account the new relationship between humans and dogs or cats, which passes from possession (as happens with property or real estate) to a relationship of real kinship. From what emerges, dogs and cats will have a status comparable to that of their children, they will be fed with highly specialized or low-priced products by singles or large families who will move on electric vehicles, extremely attentive to the reuse and recycling of what they use, with a growing presence of cats and small dogs in urban contexts, niches of new products and tasks related to pet care and a growing nutritional culture. A challenge and a scenario that Adragna Petfood is already starting to prepare for.