Consumer Analysis - Natural Pet Food
With the growing focus around healthy living and a healthy lifestyle, as well as with the humanizing of animals, natural pet food has become more popular with persons distancing themselves from grain-based, raw products. Brick and mortar stores, holding strong against the internet wave, have been readily available to supply these natural products that increase the life expectancy and health of pets. These and other findings have been outlined below.
In recent times, many trends have developed amongst pet owners in their purchase of pet food. These include health, nutrition and, safety, pet humanization, price and ease of purchase, as well as recommendations from the experts. More pet owners in the US and Canada are concerned about the health and safety of their pets. This causes them to pay close attention to how nutrition and diet may affect the way of life of their animal. Owners will note the effect of food on their animal’s shape and nature. They will also monitor the effects of the food by observing for vomiting, changes in stool, chills and so on. As a result, these pet owners may find themselves gravitating more towards natural products depending on their animal’s reaction. Food allergies in animals have serious consequences and may include not only simple allergies but also intolerance to certain levels of fats, protein, and so on. As such, pet owners may change the diet of their animal to natural based products due to observed resulting reactions. A growing trend in 2019 is that consumers are finding themselves more concerned about the health of their animals and the role that diet may play in this. This leads to them making adjustments in their pet food purchase.
The growing phenomenon of “pet humanization” is also a purchase trigger for natural pet food. More pet owners are choosing to supply their animal with the same type of luxuries that they have at their disposal. In doing this, they provide them with a diet reflective of their own. As such, we see many pet owners who indulge in high protein diets are mirroring these diets for their animals. With the increased wave of healthy living, pet owners will continue to provide premium food kind, such as natural and organic products for their animals. Studies have shown that consumers prefer products that conform to environmental sustainability such as grain free based food. Along with this, studies have revealed that animal protein is linked to many food allergies which has resulted in consumers straining from these food products and gravitating to more natural methods.
Price and ease of purchase or market availability also affect some owners’ decisions in pet food purchasing. Some products may be too expensive and will cause consumers to steer away from them. However, with the growing demand for natural based animal products, we see more availability being found on the market, allowing pet owners to supply their needs readily. Veterinarian input and recommendations have also influenced a change in consumer view of pet food. A growing concern has been placed on the health of pets, therefore, pet owners are relying more extensively on the knowledge of their actual vets when deciding to change their pet’s diet. A recommendation of change to a natural diet for a pet may spark an almost immediate response from a consumer thus triggering a need to purchase natural products, in an attempt to preserve the health of the animal.
With the recent focus on health and the humanizing of animals, pet owners have gravitated more towards natural based food, equating it to better health. As such, we see them deterring from grain-based food types even without avidly knowing the resulting health benefits. This trend is based on the widespread belief that grain contributes to many food allergies in animals, a fact debated by many. A lot of pet owners attribute food allergies in animals to chicken, dairy, egg, and fish in cats. This makes them distance themselves from products using these ingredients. Raw meat is another food that pet owners may stray from, with the growing associated risks of bacteria such as Salmonella.
Pet owners are also sticking to food based on animal species, for example, not feeding a dog cat food and vice versa. This is as a result of the differences in food processing and nutritional needs based on species. Though the effects may not be over a short period, animals may be suffering long term effects.
As a result of the increased access to products over the internet, we notice that many pet owners have gravitated to purchasing their pet products online, including natural food, due to ease and convenience. Despite the buzz around online shopping, brick and mortar establishments are still dominating the pet food industry driving 50% of the overall annual pet food sales. This can be attributed to their avid interest in keeping up with their consumers’ needs, facilitating the purchase, and use of new natural products dominating the market. Studies have shown that for 1 in 2 pet products, consumers do not use online services to access them, but with the growing influence of the internet, businesses are still urged to spread to other channels to capitalize. Pet food sales have decreased in veterinary facilities, with more people choosing to either purchase online or at their pet and health stores.
Pet owners are gravitating to natural diets in order to better meet the nutritional needs of their animals and to promote better health and way of life. Digestive processes slightly vary in animals. Dogs have the ability to process carbohydrates more like humans while cats have less carbohydrate enzymatic functioning. This illustrates the need for a variation in diet and shows how “natural” may differ from species to species. Natural based diets are boost the immune system with natural based diet pets showing a decreased number of digestive problems and an increased level of energy. Promoting internal health and adequate nutrition, natural pet food products will continue to be a preference for pet owners validating the ongoing popularity of these products. Along with the listed health benefits, healthy weight, longer life expectancy, and fewer allergies and digestive disorders are also factors consumers take into account for their purchases.
The associated health benefits of natural pet food products justify their high costs. Many considerations are made when consumers are selecting food products for their animals and while consumers are more focused on the welfare of their animals, considerations such as product cost may still pose some influence when purchasing. Though expensive, pet owners are still spending the extra on their animal’s health. Other consumers who are on a tight budget gravitate to products with fewer ingredients, deeming them as less risky.
Hearing hands-on experience from other pet owners as well as veterinarians may pose some influence in the minds of future consumers. Veterinarians have solidified their support of natural pet food products causing more pet owners to further look into this healthy method of feeding their animals. Pet owners are also visiting blog sites and portals to hear the opinions of others on natural based pet products, specifically when compared to other pet food products. This enlightens them with more knowledge on the growing use of these natural products and the health benefits behind them.
To wrap up, we have presented our findings on the purchase triggers, consumer perceptions, shopping habits, purchase validations and other considerations in purchasing natural products for pets.