Pet Food Trends

Pet Food Trends for 2020

Over the decades the relationship of pets and their owners has evolved with cats and dogs now being considered a member of the family. It's no surprise that pet owners now look for pet foods that mirror the latest human food trends. Alternative proteins, clean labels, functional nutrition, pet lovers are looking for more healthy pet food ingredients. 

According to global pet industry reports, spending on pet foods has increased by more than 8% from 2018. This steady growth of the pet food industry encourages product innovation and development. Pet owners are no longer demanding traditional pet foods. Consumers now want pet foods with healthy ingredients that will mirror their food preferences.

5 Trends Driving the Pet Food Industry

Grain-free & Grain-inclusive pet food 

The FDA indicated a potential connection of DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) in certain breeds to their diets. Many pet food brands reintroduced grain-friendly products as a response to this. These brands have restated the need for a pet diet with an adequate amount of grains. 

Most brands have labeled their products with terms like grain-friendly, grain-inclusive, wholesome grains, etc. While some brands have introduced both grain-inclusive and grain-free pet diets to meet the varying needs of pet owners. 

Consumers are now opting for pet foods that provide a complete and balanced diet for their dogs. You can opt for brands offering wholesome grains in their pet food like barley, brown rice, and oatmeal or brands using ancient grains like sorghum and millets. 

Stress-reducing dog treats

Modern pet owners prioritize both the mental and physical well-being of their pets. HUND Organic Super Health Dog Chews is one such pet food that allows your pup to destress. This integrates the goodness of Ashwagandha, turmeric, and ginger to support the healthy growth of your pets. It also contains chickpea flour, apple sauce, potassium sorbate, and almond butter. These ingredients will boost immunity and support good digestive health in your pets. 

Anxiety, stress, and depression are quite common in pets. Additionally, the global pandemic situation has forced the pets to stay indoors causing discontent and stress in them. This has caused pet owners to worry about the increasing levels of stress and anxiety in their pets. In response to this major pet food brands like HUND are offering pet food that helps in stress reduction in pets. These brands aim at eliminating the ill effects of anxiety and stress in pets in the form of delicious treats. 

Pet owners now opt for health chews like HUND stress dog treats to boost the immune system of their pets. Moreover, these health chews help to maintain a stable inflammatory response in your pets while offering an ideal dose of antioxidants. If your pet is exhibiting discontentment, nervousness, or hyperactivity, it's time to hop onto this pet food trend.

Wet Foods and Lickable Treats

The demand for wet pet products and lickable treats started in 2019. However, 2021 introduced a variety of such wet products including frozen treats, mousse textured pet supplements, novel canned pet foods, and bone broths. 

Some pet food brands are integrating smoothies with their wet treats to offer a more wholesome diet for your pets. Many brands have also introduced wet stew foods, mousse treats, and bone broths for dogs and cats. These lickable pet treats and wet foods claim to ensure weight control, digestion support, coat, and skin health in your pets.

Additionally, brands have hopped onto the fresh and frozen pet food trends. Some global brands are also offering barbeque-inspired wet pet foods to mirror pet owners' food preferences. 

Pet food brands have also opted for treats with limited ingredients while ensuring full transparency on the ingredients lists. 

Solutions-based pet foods

Modern pet owners are more into functional pet products including a life-stage pet formula, diet to treat a particular health issue, or a performance food supplement. These pet foods offer a variety of solutions-based benefits including — less fat and L-carnitine to maintain a healthy weight, fatty acids and Omega 3 to ensure coat health, egg-based ingredients to strengthen the immune system, chondroitin, and glucosamine for better mobility, prebiotic fiber to boost digestion, etc. 

You can also opt for pet solutions that cater to sensitive cat and dog breeds. Some pet brands are now adding hemp oil in pet supplements to provide more health benefits to pets. 

Primal Proteins

To meet the need of consumers who want a grain-free diet for their pets, many brands have found a novel way to introduce more protein into their pet foods. Adventurous pet owners are preferring pet foods rich in meats that will connect their pets to their native origins. 

In response to this demand, many global pet brands have introduced pet treats and foods featuring gamey proteins like a rabbit, venison, wild boar, and bison. Pet owners now prefer pet foods having exotic meats to boost the protein content in their pets' diets. Moreover, consumers prefer exotic meat proteins over traditional proteins such as beef and chicken. 

Additionally, some brands are introducing the whole animal in their pet products to boost the protein content. These pet foods may contain bone, cartilage, and organs to optimize the content of animal-based proteins. Some brands are also stating the exact percentage of each ingredient on the labels to ensure transparency in pet food products. 

Pet food brands in 2020 have introduced words like no additives or preservatives to promote high-nutrition value. Some pet food manufacturers are also trying to replace synthetic preservatives with clean label, kitchen-friendly alternatives. 

Closing Thoughts

The food preferences of consumers for their pets have evolved. Pet owners have now shifted from conventional low-protein diets to products that support a healthy digestive system in pets. In 2020, consumers are more into primal proteins, lickable treats, wet foods, clean labels, limited ingredients, and solutions-based products. Additionally, to curb the rising stress in pets, pet owners have opted for treats that reduce stress in pets. Pet food brands have been integrating the latest trends in pet foods to cater to the needs of modern consumers. 

John Woods
Dog trainer, author, and founder of All Things Dogs