Raw pet food is positioned for market growth, thanks to consumers’ increasing demands for pet foods with no preservatives, processing or extraneous ingredients, according to Maria Lange, business group director for market research firm GfK, at Petfood Forum 2017. Raw pet food sales have already grown from US$117 million to US$393 million between 2012 and 2016 in the United States.

“It looks like a possibly perfect opportunity for the raw food industry category…if it becomes about limited ingredients and what’s not in the food,” she said. “Sales in the industry show that there is a lot of dynamic in this space, and that we might see more growth in the raw category in the years to come.”

Raw pieces of meat inherently contain no fillers, preservatives, gums, thickeners or other pet food ingredients that a growing number of customers avoid, she said. Plus, raw pet foods tend to be high in protein and nutrient rich, thus meeting the criteria of other pet food trends.

Raw pet food sales growth

Lange divided the raw pet food market into four segments. Kibble+ was defined as conventional dry dog or cat food mixed with raw ingredients, such as chunks of freeze-dried beef. Kibble+ experienced the greatest growth and highest sales in the raw pet food segment, reaching US$196 in US retail pet food sales in 2016, compared to US$49 million in 2012.

“Kibble+ is a way of bringing the raw freeze-dried or dehydrated pieces into the kibble segment,” Lange said.

GfK counted 394…

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