Potential of Premium Pet Food Market in Australia and Globally
Pet food isn’t the industry that immediately springs to mind when you think about the potential for growth in the world of food. Pet food has typically been a simple, basic item, confined to a few supermarket shelves - unappetizing and predictable.
In Australia, in particular, the popularity of pets is still rapidly on the rise.
But over the past few years, this has changed. A lot of this is due to the increasing popularity of pets, as the percentage of households that own one has increased from 56% to 68% in the last 30 years. Given the fact that 62% of these pet owners are millennials, this percentage is only likely to continue increasing. In Australia, in particular, the popularity of pets is still rapidly on the rise.
As these owners are part of the rapidly growing movement amongst the younger generations towards health-consciousness and increased variety in food, it is unsurprising that they expect the same for their animal companions. This has created a market for more diverse and high-quality pet food.
Stuart Mead, General Manager of Viking Food Solutions, recently attended the Official Process Expo, attending thought-provoking events, bringing this exciting innovation back to Australia, seeking ways we can implement more of this technology into our market.
He considers the general outlook of the industry to be that premium pet food is a rapidly growing market with great potential for expansion, in Australia in particular, but also globally.
But what do these new opportunities consist of? According to Phillip Cooper, a pet industry expert who has consulted for some of the best and biggest pet industry leaders, consumers don’t want traditional pet foods any more. They want healthy ingredients and they want to understand the ingredients list. They are opting for more fresh, frozen and made-to-order diets for their pets. These products cost more and consumers are trading up.
With the demand for such products becoming more widespread, mass merchants, grocery and even dollar stores are adding premium pet foods and other products. So previously niche brands and products available at many more points of distribution than ever before.
... once a dog likes its diet, the pet owner is unlikely to switch.
There are even pet food companies jumping on the hot new trend of subscription boxes. Pet Plate is a subscription service that sells premium, human-grade food for dogs. The service can be used either as a supplement to a diet or ideally as a dog’s entire diet plan.
Pet Plate says its retention is higher than most subscription services because once a dog likes its diet, the pet owner is unlikely to switch. The service is not focused solely on urban millennial consumers, and the company says its data shows that it crosses into many other demographic groups which gives it a huge potential market.
Another example is the equally on-trend delivery service in Sydney, Delivery Hero. This company claims to cater for the whole family “including our furry friends”. Contributing restaurants now provide ‘doggy bags’ through the service, as well as food for the human owners. Again, it’s another example of owners coming to expect the same level of quality for their beloved pets as themselves.
As pet owners become even more influenced by current issues such as animal health and welfare and feel the need to give their pets the best, more and more will invest in more premium pet food products.
Therefore, what innovative companies such as Pet Plate and Delivery Hero are proving is, the pet food industry can access many of the same opportunities as traditional food. However, at present many of them remain untapped, meaning the industry’s potential is huge. Soon, instead of a few shelves, there may be a whole supermarket aisle devoted to providing an array of gourmet food products for man’s best friend.