Volume sales of cat and dog food continued to decline in 2013. While ownership of both types of pets remains unchanged, the markets face competition from homemade food, which two in five dog owners report giving to their pets, for example. One in 10 owners also say that they have given their cat or dog less food to compensate for giving it treats, suggesting that concerns about pet obesity are affecting the market.

2013_Mintel_hi-resDog snacks and treats continue to perform strongly with volume sales up by over 6% in 2013 and value sales growing by 7%. This saw the segment take a 26% share of the dog food market by value, behind wet and dry dog food at 42% and 28% respectively.

High levels of NPD (New Product Development) and falling prices saw cat snacks/treats post value growth of 25% in 2013, albeit from a very low base. The segment still accounts for 7% of cat food sales by value, behind wet and dry food at 74% and 17% respectively.

With two in five pet owners noting special offer/promotion as a key factor influencing which cat/dog food they buy, affordability comes across as an important issue for many, though less so for those that are single and without kids.

Brands competing solely on price will, however, miss the mark as three in five owners don’t rate promotions among their top considerations. Added-value attributes such as complete food, added health benefits and supporting dental hygiene are among the most common qualities sought by pet owners.

A small but significant proportion of pet owners say low salt and high protein content would make them choose one product over another. NPD in these areas is limited, suggesting they offer a platform for brands to differentiate themselves.

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