Pet Food Research

of seven

Pet Food Research - Growth of Natural Dry Pet Food Market for the US.

While the historical growth of the natural dry pet food market in the United States is not readily available in the public domain, there were relevant sales figures that enabled us to estimate it. The natural dry pet food sales of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc., the leader holding a third of the natural pet food market in the United States, indicate that the natural dry pet food market in the country had likely expanded at a CAGR of 16.2% in the past five years. Between 2013 and 2016, the company's natural dry pet food sales had risen from USD 591.5 million to USD 928.9 million.


As shown on page 28 of market research firm GfK's 2016 presentation, natural dry dog food accounted for 65% of dry dog food sales in the United States in 2015, while natural dry cat food accounted for 38% of dry cat food sales. Given that dry dog food and dry cat food accounted for 56% and 12% of the USD 24-billion United States pet food market in 2015 as can be observed from pages 8 and 13 of the presentation, we can estimate that, in 2015, sales of natural dry dog food and natural dry cat food were USD 8.736 billion and USD 1.0944 billion, respectively, with the two amounts totaling USD 9.8304 billion.

Natural dry dog food: USD 24 billion x 0.56 x 0.65 = USD 8.736 billion
Natural dry cat food: USD 24 billion x 0.12 x 0.38 = USD 1.0944 billion
Natural dry dog/cat food: USD 8.736 billion + USD 1.0944 billion = USD 9.8304 billion

This USD 9.8304-billion sum does not tally, however, with the sales figures GfK presented on page 25 of its presentation. On said page, Gfk reported that natural pet food sales in the United States grew from USD 3.6 billion in 2011 to USD 5.4 billion in 2015 at a CAGR we estimated to be 10.7%. It is not possible for natural dry dog/cat food sales to be greater than natural pet food sales.

(USD 5.4 billion/USD 3.6 billion)^(1/4) — 1 = 10.7%

On the same page, the firm reported that natural pet food accounted for 69% of pet food sales in the United States in 2015. Given that pet food sales in the country in 2015 was USD 24 billion as shown on page 8, natural pet food sales must have been USD 16.56 billion instead of just USD 5.4 billion.

USD 24 billion x 0.69 = USD 16.56 billion

Unfortunately, we were unable to locate sales figures that we could compare the 2015 natural dry dog/cat food sales with. Merchant banking firm Brooks, Houghton & Company, Inc. released last year a report on the United States pet industry, which the firm estimated at USD 27 billion, but the only product segmentation the firm provided was as follows: natural and organic pet food and treats (31.3%), dry dog food (30.3%), dry cat food (12.4%), dog treats (8.7%), wet cat food (8.2%), wet dog food (7.1%), and cat treats (2.0%).

Analysts of market research publisher Packaged Facts, on the other hand, estimated natural pet food sales in the United States in 2016 at USD 8.2 billion, around a fourth of the pet food market in the country. They estimated as well that the natural pet food market in the country grew at a CAGR of 12.1% during the period 2012-2016.


Since our search through reports and articles on the United States pet food industry returned very limited information that is specific to the natural dry pet food segment, we looked for key players in the natural pet food market and checked their financials. We learned that Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. is "the leading natural pet food company in the United States" and is "the leader in wholesome, natural pet food, with about a one third market share in this category." It sells dog and cat food made with natural ingredients such as whole meats, vegetables, and fruits. Also, even though it sells its products in four countries, namely, the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico, most of its sales are generated in the United States. In fact, in 2016, only 4% of its sales came from Canada, Japan, and Mexico. All these characteristics make the company's financials very good indicators of the historical growth of the United States natural pet food market and its segments (i.e, dry and wet).

Thankfully, the company is a publicly traded company, so its financials are readily accessible. The company completed its IPO in 2015 only, so it has only two Form 10-K's, one for 2015 and one for 2016. From these forms, we learned the following information about the company's segments: (a) Dry Foods and (b) Wet Foods, Treats, and Other Products.

Net sales: USD 1,149.8 million
Dry Foods: USD 928.9 million (81% of net sales)
Wet Foods, Treats, and Other Products: USD 220.9 million (19% of net sales)

Net sales: USD 1,027.4 million
Dry Foods: USD 834.1 million (81% of net sales)
Wet Foods, Treats, and Other Products: USD 193.4 million (19% of net sales)

Net sales: USD 917.8 million
Dry Foods: USD 742.8 million (81% of net sales)
Wet Foods, Treats, and Other Products: USD 175.0 million (19% of net sales)

Net sales: USD 719.5 million
Dry Foods: USD 591.5 million (82% of net sales)
Wet Foods, Treats, and Other Products: USD 128.0 million (18% of net sales)

If we assume that the growth of the natural dry pet food segment of Blue Buffalo is representative of the growth of the natural dry pet food market in the United States, we can estimate from the sales figures that the historical CAGR of the natural dry pet food market in the United States is around 16.2% as shown in the computations below.

2013: USD 591.5 million
2014: USD 742.8 million
2015: USD 834.1 million
2016: USD 928.9 million

CAGR (2013-2016): (USD 928.9 million/USD 591.5 million)^(1/3) — 1 = 16.2%


A direct answer to your question could not be readily found in the public domain, but a number of sales figures permitted us to triangulate the answer. Based on our calculations, there is a good chance that the United States market for natural dry pet food had grown at a CAGR of 16.2% in the past five years. The natural dry pet food sales of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc., the leader in the country's natural pet food space holding a third of the market, had soared to USD 928.9 million in 2016 from USD 591.5 million in 2013.
of seven

Pet Food Research - Growth of Natural Wet Pet Food Market for the US.

According to PetfoodIndustry, the US natural petfood sales grew by a CAGR of 12.1% during 2012-2016. Based on the available information, the market value and growth rates of the natural wet food segment have been presented in this spreadsheet. An overview of the calculations and the assumptions used will be detailed as follows.


Despite extensively searching through industry reports and trusted media sites, I was not able to find specific statistics on the natural wet pet food market that was freely available. Therefore, I had to triangulate the values based on the available information.

In the calculations below, the growth rates have been estimated based on the total market size of the natural pet food market for each year. A Statista report was used to find the market sizes for the years where other sources were not available. Then using the proportion (%) of wet pet food sales in the market, the total value of the natural wet pet food market was calculated. The percentage of wet food sales were taken from a summary report by D&B Hoovers which states that both wet dog food and wet cat food each account for 10% of the total market in the US. Therefore, the total proportion of wet pet food was considered as 20% on average for the purpose of this research.

US natural wet pet food market growth


According to Statista, the natural wet pet food market for 2012 was worth $3.8 billion. Using the findings from D&B Hoovers, 20% of the total natural pet food market was considered to be wet pet food. Hence, the total market size was calculated as $760 million. ($3.8 billion*.2)


The natural wet pet food market for 2013 was worth $4.2 billion. Using the wet pet food proportion of 20%, the market was calculated as $840 million. Based on the 2012 market size, the growth rate for 2013 will be 10.5% ($4.2 billion-$3.8 billion/$3.8 billion*100).


According to a report from PetfoodIndustry, the natural pet food sales in the US reached $5 billion. Therefore, the natural wet pet food market can be calculated as $1 billion ($5 billion*20%). Compared to the previous year, the growth rate for 2014 is 19% ($5 billion-$4.2 billion/$4.2 billion*100).


PetfoodIndustry has noted that in 2015, US natural pet food sales reached $5.5 billion. However, this figure may be slightly understated as it has only considered the sales of pet specialty stores. Based on the available data, natural wet pet food sales can be calculated as $1.1 billion for the year ($5.5 billion*20%). This was a growth of 10% compared to 2014 ($5.5 billion-$5 billion/$5 billion*100).


It was reported that the total sales of natural pet food in the US had exceeded $8.2 billion in 2016, which equated to 25% of the total US pet food market. We can assume that the wet food proportion is 20% of this value which is $1.64 billion. Compared to the previous year, 2016 shows a rapid growth of 49.1% ($8.2 billion-$5.5 billion/$5.5 billion*100).


There was no information found on the exact market value of the US pet food industry in 2017. However, it was found that 2016 report by Petfood News had forecasted the market growth as CAGR 11% for the natural pet food industry until 2021. Based on this growth rate, we can calculate the total natural pet food market as $9.1 billion for 2017 ($8 billion*1.11). Therefore, the wet pet food market will be $1.82 billion ($9.1 billion*.2).


In conclusion, the US natural wet pet food market for the last 5 years has been estimated as follows; 2017-11%, 2016-45.5%, 2015-10%, 2014-19% and 2013-10.5%. The summary of findings have been presented in this spreadsheet.
of seven

Pet Food Research - Top Growing Pet Food Brands: Large US Retailers

We were able to locate top growing pet food brands amongst large U.S. retailers. These included Nutrish by Rachael Ray, Blue Buffalo, Merrick Pet Care, Canidae, and Nestle Purina. In terms of the quickest growth, Rachel Ray was the leader in the category having grown nearly double from 2015 to 2016. Nestle Purina is still leader amongst these brands for both preventative products and annual revenue.

In evaluating which brands were growing and dominating the market, we researched the current trends and areas of growth in the pet food market. To do this, we used PetCo, Amazon, and Target to find brands that matched those trends and located growth information.


As noted in PR Newswire, the pet food industry is estimated to be a $26 billion market in 2018. As noted below, the key trends in this market are:

1. Foods with preventative benefits
2. Nutritional pet foods based on each pet's needs
3. Homemade additions to pet food
4. Specialized food with proteins and other ingredients

Once we determined the trends for pet foods, we were able to delve into top brands and market growth information.

Nutrish by RACHEL RAY

The Euromonitor International Limited and Petfood Industry both noted Rachel Ray's Nutrish to be the United States fasting growing pet food brand in the over $200 million in sales in 2016 market. Sales were up by 49% in 2016 from the prior year. Rachel Ray's product aligns with the trend of homemade additions to pet food. The Nutrish product is made with actual recipes to meet different pet needs and has real ingredients in the dry dog food products.


According to MSN, after Blue Buffalo's 4th quarter reports were released in 2016, they were announced as the leader in the wholesome natural pet food market. This was listed as the fastest growing segment of the entire pet food market. The company has invested over $600 million to build its brand. Blue Buffalo's annual revenue is $1.2 billion. Blue Buffalo products align with the specialized products for natural care.


Merrick posted a press release in January 2018 to announce that Zuke's Pet Nutrition and Merrick Pet Care were merging to provide one company dedicated to special needs of pets. Zuke's is listed as the leader in natural dog treats and supplements and Merrick has become a fast-growing supplier of natural and organic pet food. This is aligned with the trends for natural, organic, and preventative care in the pet food industry. Merrick also has products that meet the protein needs of the pets which is a part of the trend to meet the specialized needs of pets. The company was also listed in the top 15 pet food manufacturers in the U.S.


Canidae has invested in creating its own farm in the U.S. to increase its market value of transparency and sourcing ingredients. The company harvested 159,000 pounds of crops from its farms in 2016 and shipped them to its Ethos pet nutrition cooking facility in Brownwood, Texas. In the past year, it has harvested nearly 1 million pounds of fresh ingredients such as milo, millet, yellow peas, sage, rosemary, parsley, and tomatoes. Focusing on sustainable development, Canidae has begun testing on zucchini, butternut squash, lentils, and pumpkin. Business Insider lists Canidae as one of the best dog foods an owner can buy. With its large investments in farms, Canidae aligns with the homemade ingredients trend.


Nestle Purina is continually growing. They are now investing $320 million in a new factory in Georgia. Currently, 34% of its revenue is from the PetCo and PetSmart specialty stores. Nestle is focusing on inventing new products that help with cognitive health for the older pet population and those that are overweight. As vision deterioration in pets is very realistic, anticipated future products will focus on this area. The company is also inventing enhanced botanical oil products for older dogs to help with memory and decision-making as well as triglyceride oil products to help reduce epilepsy in dogs. Nestle insists its goal is to understand the struggles that pet owners are having with their animals and try to find ways to fix them. Nestle is covering the trends in preventative and nutritional needs of pets. Purina is listed as one of the largest manufacturers and one of the top pet food companies in the U.S. with over $12 billion in annual revenue.


In summary, we have included 5 pet food brands that are the top U.S. pet food brands. These included Nutrish by Rachael Ray, Blue Buffalo, Merrick Pet Care, Canidae, and Nestle Purina. Rachel Ray was noted as being the fastest growing pet food brand having grown nearly double between 2015 and 2016. Nestle Purina is also at the top with annual revenues of $12 billion annually. Each of the brands has either demonstrated growth or have recently invested in areas of the pet food market that are currently experiencing growth. Additionally, all the brands are available from large US pet food retailers like Petco and Target.

of seven

Pet Food Research - Top Growing Pet Food Brands: Smaller Boutique Type US Retail Locations

While there is no pre-existing information to fully answer your question, we've used the available data to pull together key findings: Boutique pet stores are responsible for 70% of all organic pet food sales. The organic pet food market, worth $8.2 billion, is extremely fragmented, with as many as 1,400 manufacturers selling to 7,800 independent pet stores. The top organic pet food brands are Blue Buffalo, AvoDerm Natural, and Purina Pro Plan, with Blue Buffalo alone owning 14% of the market; even so, we found many examples of boutique pet stores that do not stock the top three.
Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.
Despite a thorough search, we were unable to locate a public market report, or even an abstract, which indicates the top brands of pet food sold by boutique pet stores. This is most likely due to the extreme fragmentation of the market: According to an annual report from Central Garden & Pet Company, "The U.S. pet supplies market is highly fragmented with approximately 1,400 manufacturers, consisting primarily of small companies with limited product lines." We were unable to determine how many of these manufacturers produce one or more organic products. These manufacturers provide food to approximately 7,800 independent pet stores across the US. The report does not specify how many of these food manufacturers or pet stores fit into the "boutique" gallery. Despite a thorough search, we are unable to determine which, if any, pet food manufacturers supply only small or boutique pet stores.
However, a 2017 article from Veterinarian's Money Digest notes a link between boutique pet stores and organic, specialized, and holistic pet food, specifically, that boutique stores account for 70% of all natural pet food sales. Central's report concurs that there is a strong link between boutique stores and organic food: "Independent pet stores typically have a relatively broad product selection and attempt to differentiate themselves by offering premier brands and knowledgeable service." While it is true that boutique stores may still sell mainline brands and large commercial stores like Walmart and Petsmart have organic options, for the purposes of triangulating a reasonable answer, we will look at the top organic pet food brands in the US as the most representative of those sold in boutique pet stores.
The total US market for natural pet food comes to $8.2 billion a year, of which boutique stores (at 70%) account for $5.7 billion. Pet Food Industry states that the top three brands are Blue Buffalo, AvoDerm Natural, and Purina Pro Plan. In the previous three months, Blue Buffalo had been bought by 35% of pet food owners who wanted natural pet food, followed by AvoDerm Natural (19%) and Purina Pro Plan (18%).
This is not to say that Blue Buffalo has captured 35% of the market. In 2016, BlueBuffalo had revenue of $1.15 billion, which means that it has captured about 14% of the market (8.2 / 1.15). They also experienced 11.9% growth from the previous year, compared to a 3% growth in the pet food market as a whole. It is therefore fair to say that Blue Buffalo is one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest, organic pet food manufacturer, and therefore among the fastest-growing boutique pet store suppliers as well.
AvoDerm, like Pinnacle, is owned by Central Garden & Pet Company. Central's total sales for dog and cat products totaled $405 million in 2017, but did not indicate how much of this was from their AvoDerm and Pinnacle lines. We were unable to locate any other public sources which provide AvoDerm's sales figures or growth. Likewise, Purina is owned by Nestle, and Nestle's annual report does not provide sales figures per individual line.
We attempted to triangulate AvoDerm's market share by assuming for the sake of calculation that the ratio of sales of Blue Buffalo to that of AvoDerm is equal to the ratio of owners who purchased either in a three-month period. However, that gave the result that AvoDerm sold approximately $543 million (1.15 billion x (19/35) in one year, which is more than Central's entire pet supply sector. This means that the ratios are unequal and consequently we lack sufficient data to triangulate AvoDerm's or Purina Pro Plan's sales.
However, the distorted ratios do yield one important data point: Organic pet food buyers are not particularly loyal to any one brand, and freely switch between them.
The abstract of a recent market report surfaces the following top brands: Avian Organics, Dr. Geoff's Real Food for Pets, Evanger's, Harrison's Bird Foods, Lily's Kitchen, Mars Inc, Natural Planet Pet Foods, Newman's Own, Organic Pet Boutique, Party Animal Inc., and PetGuard. Pet Food Industry lists Ainsworth Pet Nutrition’s Rachael Ray’s Nutrish, Freshpet, Nestlé Purina’s Zukes, WellPet’s Wellness and Holistic Select lines, Fromm Family Foods and Barkworthies as established pet food companies who have entered the natural pet food market.
However, as noted before, the US pet food market is extremely fragmented. When we surveyed the sites of the boutiques themselves, we found many more brands not listed above. For example, Pet People Stores sell many of the brands listed above, in addition to Acana, Nature's Valley Instinct, Orijen, Wellness, California Natural, Pirmal Pet Foods, Weruva, Fromm Gold, and Evo.
Kriser's Natural Pet, on the other hand, sells Acana, Best Feline Food, Canidae, Cats In The Kitchen, Dave’s Pet Food, Earthborn, Fromm, Fussie Cat, Grandma Lucy’s, KOHA, Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Nummy Tum Tum, Open Farm, Orijen, Primal, Rad Cat, Stella & Chewy’s, Taste Of The Wild, Tender And True, The Honest Kitchen, Tiki Cat, Under The Weather, Vital Essentials, Wellness, Weruva, and Zignature. It is clear that while there is some overlap (e.g., Acana), there is also great variation in the line-up of each store.
Due to the extraordinary fragmentation of boutique pet stores and pet food brands, we cannot isolate which brands are the fastest growing in that market segment. However, due to the well-documented relationship between organic food brands and boutique pet stores, we have established that Blue Buffalo, AvoDerm Natural, and Purina Pro Plan are the most popular organic brands, and have provided the names of many others above.

of seven

Pet Food Research - US Trends and Preferences.

We found several current and projected trends and preferences related to pet food in the United States. Pet owners increasingly prefer to have their pet's food delivered directly to their home, currently almost 20%. Pet parents prefer to feed their pets foods with preventative benefits. The market for micro-targeted and functional pet foods is also trending. Nutrition, with an emphasis on all-natural products, and personalization by manufacturers are also becoming more popular.

Below you will find our full overview of the trends and preferences in pet food in the United States.

Health & Nutrition

People have become more health conscious in the United States, and this extends to their pets as well. Below are the trends and preferences related to health and nutrition in pet food.

1. Preventative benefits: According to PRNewswire, 76% of dog owners and 71% of cat owners believe that high-quality food prevents health problems in their pets.

2. Micro-targeted: Pet foods are being divided into highly specific sub-categories. These are based on age, size, activity level, indoor vs outdoor, type of fur, etc. These categories are designed to maximize the potential health benefits for each pet.

3. Premium ingredients: Specialized pet foods now offer similar benefits to human food. They often include probiotics, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, fruits, and vegetables. This trend is expected to grow quickly in the future.

4. Proteins and ancestral diet: There is a growing tendency among pet parents to prioritize proteins as the main ingredient in their pets food. A major segment of pet owners in this part of the market are motivated by a desire to recreate the diet of their pets prior to domestication.

5. Raw Foods: This trend was born out of the ancestral diet trend. Believers fall into two categories: the BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods or the Prey Model. The first includes fruits and vegetables mixed with raw meat, while the second allows for raw meat only.

Convenience & Customization

The trends within this section are the new or increasingly popular services provided by the seller or manufacturer to either make pet food more convenient or to create a personalized diet for a pet.

1. Home delivery: This encompasses more than having a bag of dog food delivered by Amazon. Often, home-delivered pet foods are personalized meals prepared in advance based on the needs of the pet involved. For those that opt for home-delivery simply for convenience, subscription services exist specifically for bags of pet food, as well as other necessary pet supplies.

2. Clean Labeling: The healthy diet movement requires labels which quickly provide key information. Consumers do not want to search to find out whether the food they are considering contains grain or not. To meet consumer needs, manufacturers make sure the health benefits are visible.

3. DYI Pet Food: As more pet owners add additional home cooked elements to their pets food, manufacturers are offering more options that suit that desire. Raw and dehydrated food are common choices in this trend.

Treats and Snacks

Not all food is specifically for nutrition, as most humans know. The greater focus now is aimed at these options for pets.

1. Seasonal snacks: Pet parents, especially Millennials, are more likely to seek shared moments with their pets. This desire drives the seasonal market. The market currently brings in $9.5 million in sales annually.

2. Sophisticated snacks: The trend in health food extends here as well, with a rise in treats that are healthy and are also a step above jerky and rawhide treats.


The trends and preferences in the pet food market in the United States are evolving similarly to how the market for human food has progressed. There is a marked emphasis on healthy options as people become more aware of the impact nutrition has on long-term health. This is coupled with the need for convenience, customization, and including one's pet more in family experiences.
of seven

Pet Food Research - US Sales for Newer Pet Food Brands

Focusing on the United States, pet food brands that were established in the past two years include Ollie, Raw Bistro Pet Fare, and YaDoggie. While there is not a comprehensive list of pet food startups publicly available, we additionally found other startups such as K9 Salute, Pet Plate Inc., and NomNomNow that were established in 2015.


An extensive search of the public domain revealed no news articles on new pet food startups. We also searched industry reports and statistical sites to search for new and upcoming companies, however no information was publicly available. Large and decade-old companies are just reinventing pet food in terms of nutritional content, ingredients, technology and delivery. Although there are a limited number of new pet food brands in the market, We were able to identify six startups from information publicly available on the internet. Three of these are within the past two years and the others were launched in 2015. A profile for each company including sales and average price point can be seen below.


YaDoggie was unveiled in September 2017 at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Through subscription, the company sells its own brand of grain-free food which is customized according to the needs of a customer's dog. It comes in different flavors and also includes a Bluetooth enabled dog food scoop that can track if a customer's supply is running out. YaDoggie then automatically delivers a new batch. The scoop has other interesting features like lighting up in green if it's time to feed the dog. The brand was founded by Sol Lipman who successfully founded and exited two software companies.

YaDoggie's estimated revenue is $30,000. Depending on how much a dog weights and the choice of recipe, the price for dog food varies. For a medium-sized dog, price starts at $66 for a $26lb bag that gets shipped every 5-6 weeks. Treats cost $20/month for 2 bags and $30/month for 4 bags.


Ollie is a private company in New York that was founded in Oct 5, 2016. It has an estimated revenue of $3.5 million. Ollie customizes meals for dogs and delivers it along with a custom scoop to ensure that the right portion is served. According to the website, dog food costs $3 per day for a small dog and shipping is free.

The company was founded by Alexandre Douzet and Gabby Slome. They were able to raise a total funding amount of $17,000,000 in two rounds.


Raw Bistro Pet Fare started up in 2017. Raw Bistro make raw pet food with high quality ingredients. The company has a market for raw food, dehydrated treats, and bones. The company has $1.9 million in revenue. calls Raw Bistro and cool canine startup for 2017. The product price range starts at $9.99 and goes up to almost $30 depending on the item selected.


K9 Salute provides all-natural dog treats made of ingredients that are sourced from American farms. It is located in Durham, California and started bringing its products to the market in 2015. It has an estimated annual revenue of $62,381. The treats cost $9.99 per 10 oz. pack.

Jessica Harris, a retired US National Guard combat medic, is the founder of the company. Combining two things she's passionate about, pets and veterans, she started the company with the aim of using ingredients that come from local farmers who are veterans. A portion of the proceeds go to groups that train service dogs for veterans.


Renaldo Webb started Pet Plate in 2015. The privately-held company is headquartered in New York, New York and has an estimated revenue of $2.5 million.

Customers who order through Pet Plate receive healthy, customized and freshly-made meals packed in pre-portioned containers right at their doorstep. The cost of meals depends on the dog's weight, age and other factors like dietary needs but the price starts at $3 a day, according to the company website.


NomNomNow is a dog food delivery service located in Oakland California. It was founded in 2015 by Zach Philips. The company has its own recipes formulated by Dr. Justin Shmalber, a veterinary nutrition expert. Like all the other companies, price depends on the size of the dog. For a 32-pound dog, the cost is about $2.71 per meal.
NomNomNow's estimated revenue is $2 million.


Despite the limited capabilities of internet archiving for information on pet food startups, we were able to locate 6 companies that started between 2015 and 2017. Additional information was not publicly available, so all brands found were listed above. Based on the findings, most of the new players in the pet food industry are marketing dog food. It can also be observed that the startup companies have the same offering: customized, healthy, freshly packed meals that are automatically delivered to the client's home.
of seven

Pet Food Research - Hydration Dog Food Brands in the US.


Hydration is an important factor to consider while analyzing dog food for pet owners. A dog may be suffering from dehydration when there is a lack of enough water in his body. In such cases, pet owners prefer feeding their dogs wet or canned food to supplement the water content dogs require for adequate hydration.

Take a look below at the top dog food brands in U.S. focusing on hydration in their products.

top dog brands that focus on hydration

A 2018 study conducted by Top Dog Tips listed out the top dog brands manufacturing dog food with a moisture content above 78%.

A combination of factors including price, analysis of ingredients, appeal factor/ taste, nutritional value, and side effects were used to determine the top moisture rich dog brands in the United States.

The top two brands from the list include the following:

1. Nutro — The Nutro brand owned by Mars Petcare US is a leading brand of natural pet food products. Established in 1926, the Nutro brand introduced its 'NUTRO. FEED CLEAN' philosophy in 2017 with an approach to making pet food simple, with real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients. Mars Petcare Inc. is the leading global pet food company generating over 17 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2016. Nutro Puppy Wholesome, Nutro Max Adult, Nutro Ultra Puppy Holistic Superfood, and Nutro Ultra Adult top the canned food product list for Nutro brand.

2. Wellness Pet Food — Established in the 1990s, Wellness began as company selling dog biscuits in 1926 and launched its first dog food product line in 1997. Wellness focuses on selling a grain free, protein focused natural nutrition. Owned by WellPet, the company stands in 7th place in the US pet food industry generating 700 million U.S. dollars in revenue in 2016. Wellness CORE Puppy Natural Grain Free, Wellness CORE Adult Natural, Wellness Complete Puppy Health Natural, and Wellness Complete Health Adult Natural top the canned food product list for Wellness.

Top Dog Tips lists the following brands as cheaper alternatives to the top two brands listed above.

1. Merrick Pet Care Inc — Founded in 1926, Merrick Pet Care produces dog and cat food and treats. Merrick Pet Care, Inc. currently operates as a subsidiary of Nestlé Purina PetCare company standing in 2nd place in the US pet food industry generating over 12 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2016. Merrick Classic Grain Free Puppy Plate and Merrick Classic Grain Free Turducken top the canned food product list for Merrick Pet Care.

2. Hill's Pet Nutrition — Hill's Pet Nutrition began in 1939. In 1976, the Colgate-Palmolive Company purchased Hill's Pet Nutrition. It is now the 4th largest pet food company generating over 2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue 2016. Hill's Science Diet Puppy and Hill's Science Diet Adult top the Hill's Pet Nutrition brand list.

Blue Buffalo, Newman's Own, IAMS, and Natural Balance Pet Food are other brands identified as top wet food brands for dogs.

Based on the study conducted by Top Dog Tips, dog owners are looking for affordable food products their dogs will love to eat, containing whole and natural ingredients, without sacrificing the quality, and adding to the longevity of their family member.


Following are the reasons for growth trends in the wet dog food industry.

1. Millennials and baby boomers are driving this growth as this population increasingly favors ownership of cats or smaller dogs. Affordability plays an important role here since smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas, which can be fed wet pet food are more affordable than a Saint Bernard.

2. Another reason why wet food industry is growing is due to the growing trend of including grain-free, raw, and high-protein into dog food. This trend is easier to achieve in wet food.

3. Consumers are beginning to recognize the power of food and how it directly affects the well-being of their pet. This awareness of feeding is another reason driving the growth and sales of wet canned dog food.


Looking into the future, growth opportunities for dog food can be seen in e-commerce, veterinary formulas, and selling in international markets.

The pet industry is growing at a steady 5% year over year for the last 2 decades proving itself to be recession proof as more and more households own pets and consider them to be a member of their family.


In conclusion, hydration is an important factor to consider when analyzing ingredients in dog food. When analyzing dog food that focus on hydration the top U.S. brands are Nutro and Wellness Pet Food. Other brands that can be considered as cheaper alternatives include Newman's Own, IAMS, and Natural Balance Pet Food, Blue Buffalo, Merrick, and Hills.

Growth of the wet food industry is likely to be observed as pet food industry executives agree that the current trends of natural grain-free and high-protein will continue, and that wet pet food can capture those trends.