And more pet parents are paying attention to what they are putting in their pets' food bowls. A survey from Packaged Facts reports that 63 percent of dog owners and 59 percent of cat owners in the U.S. agree that high-quality pet foods are effective for preventive health care.
And now more than ever pet food trends are predicted to closely follow trends in human food. "Healthy is the halo over everything." said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation for Innova Market Insights in a webinar presenting top food trends.
Here are seven pet food trends experts from the Petfood Industry identified for this year:
1. Sales for organic pet foods are projected to increase nearly 15 percent each year through 2019. Look for more organic pet food brands to take up more shelf space in independent pet stores as well as super chains like PetSmart and Petco, as well as being offered at veterinary clinics.
2. A small but significant number of pet food manufacturers are preparing their products with local ingredients to attract pet parents who favor local food sourcing over products made with ingredients obtained overseas.
3. Look for more gluten-free claims in pet foods as more pet parents seek grain-free brands.
4. With more than one-third of dogs considered to be overweight, the trend is to address this excess weight by offering pre-measured meals shipped directly to consumers as well as reduced carbohydrate diets.
5. Even treats for dogs and cats are getting healthier. Look for higher-priced, nutrient-rich treats surfacing that will allow pet parents to indulge their pets with a little less guilt.
6. For busy people who wish they had time to make homemade meals for their pets, there is a movement underway among some companies to minimally process mixes of dried or dehydrated ingredients that only require adding water to create a scrumptious-yet-healthy meal quickly.
And yes, insect-based protein is now being included in a few pet treats as the global demand for protein continues to rise. Crickets or grasshoppers, anyone?
By Sarah Zumhofe