The Three Mega Trends Driving The Dog Food Industry

Bhupendra Khanal, Founder & CEO, Dogsee ChewAn avid dog lover and a techie, Bhupendra founded Dogsee Chew with the noble thought to bring a major impaction the dog food industry

With 33 percent of households having dogs globally, it's obvious that the dog food segment is the largest contributor to the pet food category.

For people having pets, especially dogs, the emotions attached are no less than what they feel for their biological child. Pet parents often quote that their family is complete when they have pet in their lives. No wonder the pet food industry (as per the GFK 2016 Pet Food Trends Shaping The World report) is USD 70bn globally with US being the single biggest market with USD 24bn contribution to it and markets like UK, Japan, Germany being USD 4.4 bn, USD 6 bn and USD 4.4bn respectively. Surprisingly even though Brazil is a developing nation, even then pet food stands at a staggering USD 5 bn.

In the US dog food contributes to 78 percent of the entire pet food market. This share is 75 percent in both UK and France whereas in countries such as Czech Republic and South Africa dog food, in terms of value dominates 87 percent and 81 percent of the pet food market respectively.

While there are a lot of reasons for the growth of the dog food industry worldwide however, the three mega trends underlying this growth are urbanization, premiumisation and humanization.

With people moving to a structure of nuclear families, some people preferring to get married late in life and the related changes in live stages, the adoption of dogs has been increasing at a rapid pace. Dogs have created a special place in the hearts of people based on strong human like bonds. They have become anchors around which families are being built. Hence, pet parents are ready to go to any lengths within their means to provide a comfortable and a healthy life to their pets.

The strong emotional connect with
dogs is also luring people to pamper their furry family member. Provided they find value; the pet parents are ready to dedicate much higher resources to the welfare of their dog. This is leading to a lot of new premium/ exotic products like yak cheese based dog treats being launched. The trend is not only true for foods but also for services like grooming, travel tourism and others.

Humanization is another trend that is reflecting in the dog food industry. Pet parents are now expecting companies to provide honest products which they can buy without any fear and serve the same to their dogs. Some companies are leading this change by making sure that their products are human grade. The movement towards 100 percent natural products that I have witnessed in the human food industry is also being reflected in the dog food industry. The awareness that products with preservatives, colorants and non-natural sources are not good for their pets is increasing, leading the pet parents to adopt natural products. This trend is so strong that the natural segment in US is already at USD 8.2 bn and growing at a CAGR of 12.1 percent (Source: Packaged Facts Analysts).

The exponential rise in having a pet is because of the disposable incomes by Indians has clearly paved the way for new and unique pet care products and services

The above three mega trends are helping the dogs have a better life. Companies like ours whose genesis lies at the intersection of these mega trends are making sure that the dogs can have 100 percent natural & human grade treats. We aren't surprised that pet parents are including exotic products like yak cheese based treats in the dog's diet. Globally, pet parents are adopting exotic ingredients as a part of their dog's diet.

The other implication of the above highlighted trends can also be seen in the growth of the vegetarians' products being introduced. Pet parents are realizing that not all non-veg products are made similar. A large proportion of meat based dog food and treats are made with by products of the meat processing conducted for human consumption. Apart from the fact that such products have very low nutritional value, the lack of knowledge of the raw materials origin is driving pet parents further from such products. Companies like ours are making an effort to educate people of the benefits of adopting a 100 percent natural diet for their dogs through blogs, videos, expert interventions and more such steps. Participation across events like consumer pet shows, veterinary led events also helps companies create an environment where these topics could be discussed and debated.

The exponential rise in having a pet because of the disposable incomes by Indians has clearly paved the way for new and unique pet care products and services. Entrepreneurs who are enthusiast in this sector should keep a close eye on further developments because I believe next few years is going to be promising and will be extremely exciting for the dog food industry where a host of new age companies will launch new products, figure new medium of communicating and help pet parents in completing their journey of including natural food in their dog's diet.