The concept of pet humanisation is not new, and its effects on pet food aisles in the US have been evident to even the most casual observer. Pet food labelled as “natural” or “grain-free” increasingly command larger portions of shelf space, and buzzwords like “superfoods”, “high protein”, or “freshly made” have migrated into pet food. Sales of premium pet food have significantly outpaced other price tiers and average unit prices have risen alongside consumer demand for higher-quality food for their pets. As consumers are increasingly concerned with eating a healthier diet as part of their own wellness regimen, they are looking to mirror these choices in the food they are choosing for their pets.
While the effects of pet humanisation have been most evident among consumers and the retail side of the market, the longevity of this trend is now making serious ripples across all levels of the pet food supply chain. This was a clear theme that emerged at the Petfood 2.0 conference in Chicago on 23-24 September 2014. A series of insightful speakers explored how various parts of the pet food supply chain are facing important new challenges in the face of pet humanisation and a consumer base that is more educated and discerning than ever before.