The pandemic has placed health at the forefront of consumers' minds, with pet owners increasingly focusing on their pets' health after spending more time bonding with them.
Health claims on global food launches have increased markedly over the past decade and will accelerate in the next 2 years. With increased consumer demand for food and drink that supports pet health, many pet owners are prepared to pay a premium for such benefits. And since pet food trends are increasingly mirroring human food trends, pet health trends will follow suit as well, which will likely benefit the supplements market.
The future of supplements
Supplements are becoming more popular among pet parents. In China, a third of them (32%) very often use these products for their cats and dogs, and 56% do it occasionally. In the UK, 35% of pet owners agree that supplements are the most efficient way of delivering functional benefits to pets. And 43% of Brazilian pet owners who are willing to invest in therapies to improve the pet’s well-being have spent more on vitamins and supplements.
The addition of nutrients via supplements, the use of food to aid mental health, and a renewed focus on the gut-brain axis, are hot topics in human food that will translate to pet food and supplements in the coming years.
Functional pet drink innovation
Beverages for pets take a novel format of supplements to another level. Functional drinks are easier for pets to swallow than solid supplements and quicker to digest than solid food. Launches like these do have promise: in 2021, pet-friendly drinks appealed to nearly half of UK pet food buyers, 21% more than in 2018.
Despite the huge rise in interest, pet drink launches are rare. Gimmicky launches, such as beer for dogs, enable pet owners to share experiences with their pets, but emerging functional drink innovation presents an exciting and scalable opportunity. For example, salmon drink for cats, produced by Dutch company Voskes, claims to be a good solution toward strong bones and joints. Water supplements also persuade pets to drink water, which some refuse for numerous reasons.
Interest in immunity enhancement
There is a world of opportunities for pet food and supplements with immunity improvement benefits. Since the pandemic, consumers are more aware of the importance of immunity, not only for themselves but also for their pets. As a result, pet food and supplements with immunity-enhancing benefits generate interest among pet owners.
Manufacturers can cater to consumer demand more effectively with fortified nutrients which are closely associated with improved immunity. For example, Goat Milk Formula from Nourse contains whole goat milk powder. That offers nutrients such as protein and fat to help dogs and cats grow, and taurine to enhance their immunity.
Selling to wealthy pet owners in China
Demand among Chinese pet owners for various nutritional functions suggests marketing opportunities for pet supplements, especially to sell to consumers with a high personal income who live in big cities.
There are already a number of vitamins targeting specific areas. Pet Vitamins Tablets are said to be rich in vitamins to meet daily nutritional needs, increase appetite and nourish hair. Meanwhile, PA5051 Probiotic Supplement for Cats is formulated with probiotics and glutamine, which aids healthy gastrointestinal mucosa and helps maintain normal intestinal functions. Chondroitin Soft Granules for Dogs is a nutritional supplement that is said to protect and relieve joints, repair cartilage tissue and ease hip joint problems.
A different take for those feline friends…
Cat food innovation from dual-species premium brands tends to focus primarily on health and wellness, with products that address cats’ specific nutritional needs. Whilst many pet owners are prioritizing supplements, Orijen Guardian 8 Formula addresses 8 common cat ailments with a formulation that features fresh and raw whole prey ingredients (meat, organs, bone) and fewer supplements.
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