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2023 Pet Food Industry Trends

Read our updated trends report here: 2024 Pet Food Industry Trends

Clarkston’s team of pet food consultants have highlighted the top pet food trends that businesses should consider. Read all five trends for 2023 by downloading the full report here.

The pet industry has seen significant growth in recent years. Shoppers spent more than $123 billion on pets in 2021 alone, $51 billion of which was attributed to pet food according to the American Pet Products Organization. Moving into 2023 and beyond, we see predictions that growth will continue to soar, with an expected 8% CAGR in the pet industry by 2030. This is compared to the 3% CAGR in the last decade, which signals a strong upward trajectory for the industry. 

While pet care spending is predicted to grow and inflationary patterns from 2022 appear to be stabilizing, we expect to see a shift in more value-based purchasing habits in 2023. Pet owners are focusing less on the dollar amount and becoming more sensitive to the total value provided for their pets. Brands that value health, wellness, and genuine care for pets are more likely to win with younger demographics of pet parents. When making purchasing decisions, this new generation expects natural and organic products along with a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Below, we outline five trends in the pet food industry to keep in mind in 2023: 

2023 Pet Food Industry Trends

Trend #1: Pet Owners Have Become Value Driven Amid Higher-than-Average Inflation  

In the last year across the consumer products industry, we’ve seen purchasing habits impacted by high inflation rates, particularly when it comes to non-essential items. Pet owners, however, tend to have a larger tolerance for pet essentials such as food, treats, toys, and supplies that create value for their beloved pets.  

Like many essentials, pet food has not been immune to rising production costs and changing shopping habits. As of September 2022, pet food prices were up 14%. Despite this increase being 2.8 points higher than the average inflation rate for the food category, pet owners are shifting their mindset to focus on the value the product provides them and their pet rather than the bottom-line price. They’re willing to spend those extra few dollars if they feel like the value they’re receiving is worth the extra cost. This is particularly true for younger pet parents who seek brands with authentic, transparent, and sustainable value propositions. Even if it means paying more for their go-to products, pet shoppers’ priorities are focused on keeping their furry family members healthy and happy, regardless of the cost. 

Trend #2: Brand-Loyal Millennials and Gen Z Customers Drive Pet Industry Growth 

Pet parent demographics skew younger, with Millennials and Gen Z customers comprising almost half (46%) of pet owners in the U.S. We could see that proportion grow in coming years as many Gen Z customers reach adulthood. Considering these demographic factors, pet brands should keep in mind how they reflect younger customer preferences. Compared to older generations of pet owners, Gen Z and Millennials prefer brands that are local, sustainably produced, or family owned.

Once they find a desired brand, these pet parents tend to stick with them; 54% of Millennials and 52% of Gen Z considering themselves “brand loyal.” However, both generations are more willing to try new products to find what fits their pet needs best, including different types of food, treats, and toys. Brands that can break through the noise and convince shoppers of the superior value their products provide to the pet experience will have greater chances of growing their loyal customer base.  

The rise of the Millennial and Gen Z shopper isn’t new, but these generations could soon be the majority of pet owners; therefore, pet brands need to be prepared to provide a sustainable, holistic value proposition if they want to win over these pet customers, both now and in the years to come. Continue reading by downloading the full report below.

Download the Full 2023 Pet Food Industry Trends Report Here

Read last year’s Pet Food Industry Trends Report here.

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Contributions from Leah Harding

Tags: Consumer Products Trends, 2023 Trends, eBook