Pet Food Trends for 2021January 13, 2021 - by Taylor Getler
With Americans spending so much time isolated at home, their relationships with their pets have become even more important to them. While many consumers have always considered their pets to be full members of the family, they haven’t always shopped in a way that reflects this idea until very recently. As this relationship evolves, so does consumer behavior, and we are already seeing some interesting pet food trends that will carry through 2021.
Dog Lovers Want Human-Trusted Brands
The common stereotype around pet food is that the ingredients are of a lower grade than what humans should eat. For this reason, you don’t often see CPG food brands launching pet food lines under their own name, because it would be too risky to associate human food with pet food.
This idea is changing, as many dog owners want to ensure that their furry companion gets the best of the best. For example, Ben & Jerry’s® has just launched a new line of ice creams for dogs called “Doggie Desserts,” which are made with a sunflower butter base that is safer for them than traditional ice cream. Instead of raising questions about the quality of their own pints of ice cream, shoppers are glad to be able to turn to such a trusted brand for their dog.
According to NBC News, The Farmer’s Dog™ was one of the top dog food brands of 2020. This is a subscription food delivery service that designs customized meals for dogs tailored to their individual needs.
On shelf, there are only a few options for owners that want to shop for pet food based on their dog’s unique specifications, such as large/small/medium breed and organic/non-organic. However, online ecommerce services like The Farmer’s Dog™ are able to use veterinarian recommendations to make highly customized meal plans based on their individual nutritional needs. As consumers get even more comfortable with ordering their own groceries online, boutique services like The Farmer’s Dog™ have an opportunity to become part of their regular shopping routine.
Consumers Have Clear Preferences for Claims
Consumers are also looking closely at pet food packaging for certain claims that are driving brand selection. For example, more shoppers want to see “Made in the U.S.A.” on their packaging, and they are also keeping an eye out for ethical and sustainability claims. While dog and cat owners are interested in food that is packed with protein, they are also thinking about the way that producers treat the livestock that are raised for use in pet food.
In 2021, it’s important for brands to make it clear that they care about animals beyond the ones that will be consuming the food. According to a recent survey of dog and cat owners by Packaged Facts, 69% of respondents reported that they are concerned about the treatment of the animals that are used as pet food ingredients.
Transparency in claims, customized pet diets, and pet-friendly options from trusted brands are all trends worth watching in 2021. As pets become more valued members of the family, owners are looking for brands that can demonstrate that they care about their pet’s well-being just as much as they do.