The pet food industry is has never been more dynamic, driven by a focus on issues such as pet health, sustainability and environmental impact. Interestingly, what we’re often seeing are human food trends crossing-over into the pet industry, particularly premium and innovative pet food products like organic and vegan pet food.
Many consumers are willing to spend more on better quality products that can cater to the unique nutritional needs of their pets. This growing attention towards nutrition and climate-consciousness, with millennials representing the biggest share of pet owners – has triggered a greater appetite for innovative ingredients and flavours. In turn, manufacturers are turning their eye towards increasing research and development to add unique ingredients into their formulations – as well as expanding their product range to offer greater variety.
Below we round-up of some of the most interesting and innovative pet food launches we’ve seen so far in 2022.
Collagen-rich treats and bone broth for dogs
You may have heard about collagen’s youth-boosting abilities and collagen supplements being used by A-list celebs such as Jennifer Aniston. But have you heard of its benefits for pets?
The collagen trend is one that has risen rapidly in recent years, and now pet food brands such as Frankly Pet – a manufacturer of unique dog treats and chews – are taking advantage. They even have a Collagen College section on their website. The brand recently launched their new Collagen and Protein Beefy Chew Sticks to the US market. They’re said to be formulated with 98% high-quality collagen from US cattle. The use of collagen is said to offer a healthier alternative to traditional rawhide, while promoting healthy skin, coat, nails, joints and teeth in dogs.
Similarly, US-based organic bone broth company, Osso Good Life, recently made its first foray into the pet food market with the launch of its collagen-rich bone broths for dogs. They cater to the increasing number of pet parents looking to support their pets’ gut, digestive and immune health.
UK-based pet food distributor Bern Pet Foods recently introduced their range of ACANA ‘high-protein dog treats’ to the UK and Irish market. The new treats – manufactured by Canadian pet food brand Champion Petfoods – are said to feature liver as the “number one ingredient”, which they’ve uniquely labelled as a dog “superfood”. The premium, nutritious treats are said to be protein-packed – with 85% of their total protein coming from free-run and ranch-raised animal ingredients.
Halal-friendly cat food
With the growing trend for pet humanisation continuing to dominate, one gap in the market has been halal pet food – until recently. UK-based Tiana Halal pet food recently launched as the world’s first Halal-approved cat food brand. Founder Pankaj Hurria launched the brand after doing some ground research and realising there are some 500,000 Muslim cat owners in the UK whose needs were not being met. The brand’s website also states there are ‘132 pet food producing companies in Europe and none of them produces Halal cat food’. Having spotted this unique niche, they brought to market a range of halal cat food made using human-grade ingredients and sustainable production methods.
Indeed, another major trend being driven by pet humanisation is sustainability. Major brands are now responding to this, such as Purina, who recently rolled out their new recyclable pouches on two of their biggest brands. The Gourmet Mon Petit and Felix Soup ranges have been relaunched with ‘cutting-edge’ recyclable pouches (made with Polypropylene) in more than 20 countries across Europe, including the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Italy. As the brand strives for 100% sustainable packaging by 2025, they are also exploring innovations such as new paper-based materials and piloting reusable packaging systems allowing customers to bring their own containers to fill with dry petfood.
‘Vet strength’ formula
Premium pet supplements brand Zesty Paws recently upgraded two of their popular ranges to “vet strength” formulas. Aller-Immune Bites, which fight seasonal allergies in pets, and Mobility Bites, which promote healthy joints are now produced with more advanced formulas. They are said to offer even more vitamins and supplemental benefits, with the inclusion of ingredients such as Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid, and Zinc Sulfate. The use of a high concentration of these active ingredients is said to deliver optimal health benefits for dogs, promoting mobility, healthy cartilage and joint health.
Lastly, with talks of heatwaves already making headlines, one thing to remember is that our puppies can’t sweat through their skin – so it’s important to keep them cool in the summer! While freezing vegetables and fruits have long been fan-favourites among pet parents, today big supermarket brands are also launching their own unique offerings. In the UK, Aldi recently launched the brand-new Beechdean Doggy Ice Cream range, which are 100% plant-based and made with real fruit and vegetables. Morrisons also recently revealed that it is now selling ice pops for dogs that are made with natural, herbal ingredients and have been developed in partnership with vets.