Pet foods are now being formulated to address concerns near and dear to humans, including organic and non-GMO ingredients, “free from” options, and low-carb recipes. Especially clean label claims such as natural and/or “no additives/preservatives” are used to drive interest in natural and organic formulations.
Health claims also form a major marketing trend. More than 80% of global pet-food launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in September 2015–2016 were marketed on a health platform of some kind.
Vitamin- and mineral-related claims are used on over 23% of global launches and prove to be the most popular of active health claims for pet food.
The next most popular claims are digestive- or gut-health claims, used on 22% of global launches and addressing issues such as sensitive stomachs in dogs and also furball/hairball problems in cats. Probiotic and prebiotic ingredients are popularly marketed for these conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are included in just over 15% of global launches followed by skin health with over 14% of global introductions featuring claims related to skin health.
Allergy-related claims are also very popular. There has been a strong rise in gluten-free and grain-free formulations for both dogs and cats. More than one-fifth of global launches were gluten-free, and nearly a quarter of dog-food launches alone were gluten-free.
Interest in protein content in pet food also mirrors trends the human food and-drinks industry. Just over 30% of pet food launches between September 2015–2016 featured “high in” or “source of” protein claims, up from just 20% a year previously. There has also been ongoing interest in alternative and more exotic protein sources, such as game meat, bison, and seafood.