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Pet Food is Starting to Look a lot Like Human Food

The evolution of pet food has come a long way. Gone are the days when pet foods were made from mystery meat and tons of synthetic ingredients. Today, many Americans are feeding their pets with foods that humans also eat. Many pet parents opt for pet foods that are marketed as non-GMO, organic, grass-fed, and other healthy monikers. These types of pet foods including grass-fed beef for dogs and high protein organic beef are especially growing in the market.

The trend of pet foods – particularly high-end pet foods – is becoming closer to that of human food. It is essential to take note this overlap. For instance, pet foods now contain whole berries and other ingredients that humans would often snack on. Don Tomala, president of Matrix Partners, a pet-product manufacturer, noted that the current trend in pet food is to humanize the products.

But more than put healthy ingredients, most pet owners are also very particular with the branding and packaging of pet foods. Gone are the days when pet owners would choose a dog food with a colorful caricature of pets. Today, they will likely pick products that display real dogs that seriously look healthy – similar to the packaging found in products sold at natural retailers like Whole Foods.

Pet Food Humanification Reflects Pet Owners’ Preferences

But the humanification of pet food reflects the preference of the pet owners themselves for healthy food. Moreover, many pet owners treat their pets as their children instead of animals thus they want only the best for their pets. The popularity of the term “fur babies” is a clear example that pet owners are already treating their pets just like humans and so they want only what’s best for their “babies.” In the past five years, researchers have noted that many pet owners are looking for pet foods that they would also buy themselves.  This trend is affecting food manufacturing companies as many have introduced their own lines of pet food. The exciting part is that any trend that you can see in consumer food can also be applied to pet food.

Increased Revenue

Tomala noted that American pet owners were spending around $18 billion on pet food in 2009. Sales have grown to $30 billion since last year. This outpaces the rate of pet ownership and means that people are spending more on pet food than they did ten years ago. Many food manufacturing companies have benefited from this trend. San Diego-based company Honest Kitchen uses human-grade ingredients to make their pet food. However, it is not only human-grade ingredients that they use but they also strictly follow all human food regulations. This is to ensure that pet foods are not only safe but also effective.

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