Skip to Content
Site Navigation

Pet Scoop

What are the Most Desired Functional Health & Wellness Benefits in Pet Food/Treats? 

October 22, 2021 | 2 min read

What are the Most Desired Functional Health & Wellness Benefits in Pet Food/Treats? 

The health and wellness benefit pet owners would most like to see in pet food and treats is healthy digestion, according to a Lightspeed/Mintel survey. While this isn’t a stunning revelation, it does support the growing number of digestive health packaging claims in the pet food space.

Beyond happy tummies, here are some of the other functional health benefits pet parents are seeking:

Most Desired Health & Wellness Benefits in Pet Food/Treats

  1. Healthy digestion
  2. Muscle, joint, bone support
  3. Skin/coat health
  4. Immune system support
  5. Heart/cardiovascular support
  6. Weight management
  7. Calming/anxiety relief
  8. Brain/cognitive support

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel
Base: 1,398 internet users aged 18+ who purchase pet food/treats

Gut feelings

As I’ve mentioned before in this space, pet owners are influenced by consumer trends – after all they’re consumers – and many of those same consumer trends flow right into the pet food segment. Good gut health is one of those consumer trends bridging the people food/pet food gap. Over the past decade or so, the food industry has done a great job communicating the benefits of good digestive health. So now people have an understanding that their gut health is important to their overall wellbeing. And in another case of ‘what’s good for me is good for my pet,’ they’re taking this knowledge and ascribing it to their pets’ welfare as well.  

Dog gut health graphic

More and more research is emerging to support the interconnectedness of digestive health to overall health. And this has pet owners seeing the same potential benefits for their pets. Digestive health was the most desired benefit among surveyed pet owners, with 58% selecting it, yet other benefits linked to good gut health, such as immune support (46%), coat/skin health (49%), weight management (37%), and stress relief (33%), were also being sought after. This presents an opportunity for pet food brands to offer products with digestive health ingredients, such as fiber, that could also be linked to multiple desirable wellness benefits. 

Interestingly, the Lightspeed/Mintel survey showed that both cat and dog owners are almost equally interested in pet food and treats aimed at healthy digestion. Exclusive cat and dog owners and those with both cats and dogs in their households all ranked digestive health as the top health and wellness benefit, they’d like to see.

Ripe for innovation

Mintel analysts make a strong case for innovating with digestive health ingredients in their Pet Food US, 2021 report, saying, “Gut health has the potential to have a big impact not only on overall pet health and wellness but also on pet food marketing due to its connection to many different aspects of pet health.”

With this in mind, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tree Top’s newest offering – Pumpkin Flake Powder – and its potential as an ingredient to support digestive health. High in dietary fiber, pumpkin is also low fat, low calorie and nutrient dense. These characteristics make pumpkin an attractive ingredient for innovation in digestive health pet food/treat/topper development.

Let us help you start formulating a digestive health product with pumpkin.

Have a question about formulation or specific specifications?  Contact us. 

now offering pumpkin powder

Request free sample. 

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.

Get Started Today
Farmer Grown. Farmer Owned. Real fruit goodness Simple ingredients Farmer Grown. Farmer Owned. Real fruit goodness Simple ingredients

Tree Top Blogs

Get the latest news on crop updates, research and development, and market insights.


California Strawberry Update

View Story


California Tree Fruit Update

View Story