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Pet Scoop

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November 16, 2021 | 3 min read

Funny little dog looking at owners food.

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Bow-wowza! A dual snacking opportunity

So, I recently read the title of a Mintel report – Pet Parents a New Breed of Snack Consumer (kudos to the author for the wordplay) – and the first thought that came to mind was: Do pet owners’ snack differently than non-pet owners? Do they favor savory snacks over sweet? Crunchy vs. chewy? Are cat owner snacking preferences the same as dog owners?  My mind was whirling with the possibilities.

Of course, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that wasn’t the point at all.


The main premise of the report was the line between people food and petfood is blurring as people seek to bond with their pets by snacking together. Brands on either side of the pet and human divide are dipping their paws/toes into this joint snacking space.

Dog wants a snack

Snacking Connection

This confluence of trends has given rise to the human-animal snacking occasion. The treating/snacking behavior is seen as a way for pet parents to get closer to their furry friends. And with people working more from home and spending more time with pets, their emotional ties have deepened. People are transferring their desire for a snack break to include their pets. “If I need a snack, so does my trusty coworker.”

American consumers who buy pet treats say:

76% – it helps strengthen their bond with their pet

72% – they enjoy giving pets different kinds of treats

59% – it’s important to give pets treats daily

Source: Kantar Profiles/Mintel, April 2021

Human – Pet Continuum

Snacks and pet treats are experiencing crossover branding. Take Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s for example. The beloved ice cream brand, known for its sometimes-quirky flavor names, launched doggie ice cream earlier this year in January. Now pet parents and their four-legged pals can indulge in B&J’s together. The new Doggie Desserts feature dog-appropriate flavors, such as pumpkin and mini cookies, and peanut butter and pretzels.

While it seems to be a natural progression from human food to animal, I agree with the Mintel experts who say it will be harder for pet brands to get traction selling people snacks and treats. However, maybe the human brand companies with a pet division might have a better chance of bridging the gap. 

That is not to say, petfood companies won’t have success with a brand targeted specifically for people-pet snacking. The key might be in promoting “made with human-grade ingredients”. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch, because human-grade ingredients in petfood are already trending with pet owners. And this would alleviate the mental hurdle. I can imagine sharing a bag of apple chips or pumpkin peanut butter bites with dogs. Even though, dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, there are indulgent and better-for-you treat possibilities that can satisfy both pet parents and pets.

Mother Nature’s Snacks

Since you can’t use chocolate in people – pet snacks, fruit is my recommendation. It’s ideal for both indulgent and better-for-you applications. Whether you’re thinking of DIY baking mixes for making homemade treats or RTE snacks for sharing, Tree Top R&D is here to help with your formulation. Contact us. Or, if you are just curious about the endless possibilities, check out a few websites that are sharing pet/people snacking ideas.

27 People Foods to Share with Your Dog     

Netflix and Snack: What Foods are Safe to Share with your Dog 

Healthy Snacks for Dogs: Safe Human Treats You Can Feed Your Pet

Once you have your snack ideas, we invite you to browse our ingredient offerings and order samples.

Request a Sample

Looking for bench quality samples to help with your formulation requirements? Connect with us and we’d be happy to send some your way.

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