Between 2011 and 2016, Latin America’s pet care industry outperformed the larger Western European market in key economic metrics, including compound annual growth rate (CAGR), noted a pet food industry analyst in a guest article for Interzoo 2018. Although Latin America was lower in actual sales than Western Europe, wrote Wiebke Schoon, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International, the region grew at six percent CAGR and reached higher actual sales gains.
Overall, the Euromonitor analyst reported that the pet care industry did well between 2011 and 2016, hitting global sales of US$104 billion in 2016. North America, including the United States, continued to be the largest market for pet care. Western Europe maintained its place as the second largest region for pet care sales, but grew at a below average rate between 2011 and 2016. Western Europe’s pet car market grew by a CAGR of two percent, compared to Latin America’s CAGR of six percent.
Premium pet food growth strong
A gap between sales of premium pet food and other price points, including mid-range and economy, grew during the 2011-2016 period, wrote Schoon. Premium dog and cat food value grew by four percent CAGR, while mid-priced pet foods grew by one percent. Economy pet food market value grew by two percent CAGR, but that was enough to make value-priced pet food sales significantly higher and mid-priced options. Euromonitor analysts expect this gap to continue growing over the next five years.
So what strategies can manufacturers employ in order to position a product in such a premium way that consumers are happy to pay a price premium for it? A key strategy is pet humanisation. Many pet owners have a very strong emotional connection to their pets, with pets sometimes taking the role of a child. Manufacturers know this, and are fuelling this trend, referring to pet owners as pet parents and emphasising a pet’s role as a family member. Owners are being encouraged to treat pets like one of the family, and buy them higher-quality food accordingly. Looking at products, pet humanisation has led to a convergence of trends between human food and pet food. A trend for “natural” products, for example is spilling over from human food. Free-from, Paleo, superfoods and freshness are all human food trends that are being mirrored in pet food.