A recent analysis of the pet industry suggested it was recession proof. The reasoning given was that overall sales remained robust despite the economic recession caused by the pandemic last year. Take for instance dog food sales in the U.S last year. Retail sales of dog food had their strongest growth (6.8%) in more than two decades, according to Sundale Research. Last year total retail sales rose to $19.3 billion, following a solid 4.2% increase in 2019. Sundale attributed the category growth to the COVID-19 pandemic, which boosted dog adoptions and had more people spending time at home forging bonds with their four-footed friends.
As people snacked more at home last year, it was only logical that their furry coworkers would too. That was borne out in the sales figures for dog treats. In 2020 retail sales of dog treats grew by 7.2% to $4.3 billion. This was on the heels of 5.8% growth in 2019. All in all, dog treats accounted for just over 22% of total dog food retail sales in 2020, which is a slight increase from the 20.6% share in 2015.
The analysts at Sundale say we can expect to see slower growth in 2021 both in overall dog food and treat sales. There’s more room for sales growth in treats, which are projected to increase 6.3% to $4.57 billion by year end and will represent 23.5% of total dog food sales by 2025. Innovation in functional treats and oral care products is fueling interest and sales in the segment. Beyond the health & wellness trend in treats, expect to see more focus on clean labels, transparency, human-quality ingredients, unique proteins, natural and grain-free options.
Pets bring benefits
There’s lots of anecdotal evidence that pet ownership can have positive impacts on human health and well-being. People often derive comfort and security from their pets and form strong emotional bonds. This has been substantiated through research showing pet ownership can help:
- Alleviate stress
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Improve immunity in young children
- Assist with therapy for autistic children and those suffering from PTSD
Who knew? Dogs are also helping children learn to read in a program called Canine Reading Buddies where children read to non-judgmental, patient pups. Apparently, dogs are good listeners.
Because pets are valued members of families, pet parents want only the best for them, and this means making sure their pets remain healthy and happy. This is what keeps pet food sales strong, and dare I say, ‘recession proof.’
P.S. Pumpkin Power
If you read my previous blog, “Tree Top Planting Pumpkin…”, you’ll know Tree Top recently added dried pumpkin flake powder to its fruit ingredient offerings. Pumpkin is a powerhouse of nutrients from fiber to antioxidants and offers dogs and cats multiple health benefits. And incidentally, growth in pet treats is being driven by the addition of functional/wellness ingredients, such as pumpkin.