Fresh Pet Food in North America: The Raw/Frozen, Refrigerated and Homemade Wave
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Since the late 1990s virtually all of the dollar sales growth in the North American pet food market has been coming from the conversion of pet owners to higher priced fare, and the single most important factor behind their willingness to pay more is the belief that better quality products offer tangible health benefits. Fresh pet foods fit the bill perfectly, appealing to pet owners not just on the basis of freshness—which is also one of the hottest button issues in human food marketing today—but on the basis of the products’ being able to improve pet health holistically. Because they are not subject to high heat, fresh pet foods retain more of their natural nutritional elements, and proponents of raw diets claim that these products can offer a variety of benefits beyond general well being, such as the amelioration of allergies and longstanding gastrointestinal ailments. As a result, consumer demand for fresh pet food is on the rise, helped along by innovative new products based on technological advances and convenience features, frequent overlap into the high-growth natural/organic segment, heightened food safety concerns stemming from the sweeping pet food recalls of spring 2007, and the mobilization of the raw/frozen pet food market via the formation of two industry groups: The North American Raw Petfood Association and the Canadian Association of Raw Pet Food Manufacturers.
This groundbreaking report from Packaged Facts—the first market report to quantify this dynamic segment of the North American pet food market—is grounded in primary interviews with top industry experts supported by extensive canvassing on the Internet, where the “word-of-mouth” raw foods movement has long been based and continues to spread. The report defines the North American pet food market as consisting mainly of raw diets sold in frozen form to consumers in the United States and Canada—but the definition also includes refrigerated or frozen pet foods that have been lightly cooked (i.e., pasteurized) and uncooked products made shelf-stable via freeze-drying or other processes of dehydration. This report also examines the growing trend toward homemade pet foods, especially within the context of overlap with raw pet foods and commercial pet food mixes, and the market trend toward the usage of fresh ingredients in traditional shelf-stable dry and wet pet foods.
Key features of the report include:
- Detailed explanation of the two raw/frozen product segments: BARF (Bones and Raw Food) and Raw Meaty Bones (aka, “prey model”).
- Market size and composition figures including historical and projected market size and market composition (by country, product type, retail outlet, consumer demographic).
- Comprehensive “Market Outlook” chapter covering factors including pet health, industry initiatives, effects of 2007 recalls, impact of 2008 recession, Internet trends, product safety issues and regulatory trends.
- Identification of all major players and many “minors,” with close-up look at market leaders including raw/frozen leader Nature’s Variety and refrigerated leader Freshpet.
- Close-up look at refrigerated pet food, which the report predicts will soon “be commonly available in supermarket chains nationwide.”
- Competitive trends and forecasted market entry of mainstream major pet food players.
- Current and emerging product trends including “complete and balanced,” organic, no-allergy/grain-free, convenience, homemade, treats, functional foods, and produce mixes and supplements.