Humanization of Pet Food

Our dogs and cats are part of our families, and many of us enjoy pampering them as pet humanization flourishes. The development and sales of pet foods reflect this evolving trend. Today, many pet parents seek the same wellness benefits for their dog and cats that they want from their own choices, including natural, organic, high protein and nutritionally balanced foods.

Pet humanization also is leading to more premiumization of pet food, as consumers pay more for “healthier” food. Recent launches for dog and cat foods and snacks overwhelmingly take a health-focused market position.

The terms “natural” and “organic” remain popular, and the humanization trend also drives pet foods without additives and preservatives and those that are GMO-free and gluten-free. Dry, wet and raw food that tout benefits such as grain-free and with added vitamins and minerals continue to interest pet parents, as do those for specific needs such as age, skin sensitivity and digestion ease.

“Clean label” or limited ingredient foods are made with fewer ingredients and those that are easily identifiable. There is an emphasis on ingredients with nutritional function, such as prebiotics. Superfoods, such as pumpkin, kale and apples are popular in premium pet foods.

What’s Next?
Limited-Edition Food: There seems to be a market for foods with seasonal flavors, especially during the fall and the winter holidays.
Wet Dog Foods: Sales are climbing for those wet foods that are marketed as natural.
Sustainability and Environmentally Friendly: This is a hot topic with millennial pet owners interested in the source of ingredients, processing and packaging. A growing number of manufacturers promote their foods as sustainably and locally sourced, made in the USA and packaged with eco-friendly materials.

As the year progresses, new trends will emerge, and expect them to be the by-product of pet humanization.