In the last decade or so, Americans are increasingly thinking of—and shopping for—their pets as furry family members. Between 2007 and 2017, annual pet food spending per household among pet owners rose 36%. And much of this increase has been dollar growth, as pet owners are increasingly spending more on their pet’s food.
The humanization of pets is driving trends across the pet food industry that align with many of the trends we’re seeing in the human food and beverage industry. But the growing pet industry may also offer inspiration for retailers and brands of human products looking to stand out.
Many pet owners are searching for pet food products that improve the health and well-being of their pets. As a result, sales are on the rise for products with claims of being fresh or organic and for those that include limited ingredients or are “free from” certain ingredients. For example, pet food products claiming to be free from wheat represented $4.9 billion in sales in 2018, an increase of $331.7 million dollars from the year before.
The good news for both brands and retailers in this space is that this consumer interest and sales growth is driving sales across the pet food both online and in-store. Online pet food sales grew by more than 50% last year. But brick-and-mortar retail continues to capture sales through experiences—like blueberry facials for dogs, free treats, or trusted advice—that e-commerce does not provide.
In this episode, we’re diving into the pet industry. Maria Lange, the Client Director for Nielsen’s Pet vertical, and James Restivo, the Commercial Lead for NielsenIQ’s pet vertical, explore why consumers are increasingly focused on the quality of their pet’s food; what claims and attributes they’re searching for; and how brands and retailers can stand out in this growing industry. Then Peter Katsingris, SVP, Audience Insights at NielsenIQ, and Michael Receno, from NielsenIQ’s Media Communications team, share how NielsenIQ can connect the dots for advertisers and help them connect with pet owners through media.