are you current on pet food trends? find out now!

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are you current on pet food trends? find out now!
Posted by Dr. Ernie Ward on Jan 06 2015

I’m a pet foodie. I’m also a people foodie but my real passion lies with pet food. I’m constantly scouring journals and news outlets for any pet food news. Recently the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) released a list of nine top pet food trends, particularly dog and cat foods. I thought I’d share their findings and give my opinion on each observation.

I agree. Pets are largely considered “family members” and pet owners are choosing the best foods they can afford.

I agree, although my concern is that “natural” is being used to market inferior foods. Some companies use the term appropriately and honestly while others don’t. “Natural” means nothing in the regulatory world, so buyer beware.

I love this! My only question is how do you ensure you’re feeding the best foods? Start by asking your veterinarian and carefully reading labels.

In general, I like this trend but have reservations. It really depends on exactly what they’re adding and the processing any additives have undergone. I prefer foods with no artificial colors, flavors and preservatives whenever possible.

Yes! Americans love their pets!

Mixed. I like better protein sources but am skeptical of any “ancestral” claims because it’s not clearly defined or scientifically validated.

Yep, pet obesity continues to be an upsetting trend.

I choose “Made in USA” whenever possible. The trouble is that even if a pet food is American-made, the ingredients may be sourced from elsewhere. I’ve been pushing for transparency on human and pet food labels for many years. I believe manufacturers should disclose where their ingredients originate.

  1. “The premium sector accounted for 40% of the 26 billion dollar U.S. pet food market in 2013 (Packaged Facts, 2014).”
  2. “Sales of natural pet foods totaled $4.1 billion in 2012 (Packaged Facts, 2014).”
  3. “79 percent of pet owners said the quality of their pets’ food is as important as their own (Mintel, 2013).”
  4. “Top drivers of sales in pet foods included adding “excitement” to the pets’ diets via flavors, gravies, look-alike human recipes and meal specific foods such as appetizers and breakfast (IRI, 2014).”

    Yuck! This is where we begin to introduce the less-healthy elements of human foods such as high-fat gravies, artificial colorings and flavors and add unnecessary “appetizers.” My advice: avoid these gimmicks and save money.

  5. “Half of new pet foods touted have added vitamins, antioxidants, protein, DHA for puppies/kittens and no fillers, artificial ingredients or byproducts (Packaged Facts, 2014).”
  6. “In 2013, more households had dogs than children, with 39% of households having a dog and 32% of households having children (Packaged Facts, 2014).”
  7. “The Paleo Diet has created a new sector of “ancestral” foods reflective of earlier diets of canines and felines that are focused on the high quality of proteins and grains in pet food.”
  8. “53% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight causing the need for functional and therapeutic pet food (APOP, 2013).”
  9. “51% of dog owners and 44% of cat owners believe that ‘made in the U.S.’ is a very important package claim as fear of contamination and product safety is a large concern among pet owners (Packaged Facts, 2014).”

    It’s up to us to determine whether these pet food trends pan out or not. Remember to always ask your family veterinarian before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.