ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. retail market for pet treats is chewing up the competition, with sales growth consistently outpacing that of the more mature pet food market. As market research firm Packaged Facts discloses in the recent report Pet Treats and Chews in the U.S., 2nd Edition, this pet industry segment topped $6 billion in domestic retail sales last year and continued growth is forecast for the foreseeable future.
Market growth has continued despite consumer concerns regarding foreign-sourced pet treats and products, and the related recalls in recent years. In particular, the threats posed by Chinese-made jerky treats are still impacting the pet treats and chews market, with pet owners in the U.S. continuing to scrutinize pet products to ensure that they are both made and sourced in the U.S.
Although the market is now five years out from the spate of recalls that started in 2012—and ten years out from the devastating pet food recalls of 2007—consumers still do not take pet food and treat safety for granted. Packaged Facts' June/July 2017 survey data show that 59% of pet treat purchasers agree that fear of contamination/product safety impacts their treat purchasing decisions. The safety of animal-based treats, such as rawhides, is of concern to an even greater percentage, 63%.
It's important to realize that consumer demand has grown beyond just a desire for U.S.-sourced ingredients. Of particular interest to consumers is greater ingredient transparency in the form of "clean labels," a term that refers to products that make a specific marketing claim while being free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners, hormones, and antibiotics.
"Products touting 'Made in the USA' abound on store shelves, but being made in the U.S. isn't the same as being sourced here," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "Educated consumers want to know where the ingredients in their pets' treats are coming from, and more marketers are beginning to promote products as being sourced locally."
According to Packaged Facts' survey data, almost a quarter of consumers agreed that they had been paying more attention to the product claims or nutritional information in the pet food they purchased, a percentage that equaled that of human foods, including plant-based milks, cheese and eggs. In the treat market in particular the demand is there, with roughly 30% of dog and cat owners purchasing pet treats with no artificial ingredients and 17% of both dog and cat owners purchasing GMO-free treats, based on Packaged Facts survey data.
The demand for transparency has even led one pet food marketer, Canidae, to establish its own farm to ensure quality ingredients. In the treats market in particular, marketers including Clear Conscience Pet, Merrick, Full Moon Pets, Plato Pet Treats, and Fruitables (to name only a few) have actively pursued sourcing ingredients from the U.S., promoting this on product packaging and company websites. Nutro in particular has recently begun a "clean label" initiative and beginning to phase in new products that fit this description, and other marketers are sure to follow suit.
About The Report
Building on analysis presented in the previous edition of this report, this fully updated second edition of Pet Treats and Chews in the U.S. covers historical and projected retail sales estimates from 2012 through 2021, competitive strategies of key players, and trends in new product development. The report also examines retail trends including the impact of the e-commerce boom and the pet specialty vs. mass retail divide (recently thrust into the spotlight with Blue Buffalo's cross-over), and the snowballing effect of Millennials as the largest generation of pet owners. Featuring exclusive multi-year data from Packaged Facts' National Pet Owner Survey, the report examines pet treats and chews purchasing trends, as well as attitudes and demographic characteristics of pet treats and chews purchasers. Additional data sources include Simmons data profiling pet treat purchaser attitudes and product preferences, and SPINScan data on sales through the natural and gourmet channels.
Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.
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