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Natural pet products category shows steady growth

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ROCKVILLE, Md. – Big changes are underway in the market for pet goods, according to "Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S.," a recently released study from market research firm Packaged Facts.

Hill's is reformulating Science Diet as a natural product line, and Nestlé Purina is coming on strong with Purina One Beyond. In addition, Walmart has launched Pure Balance as it first natural store brand.

In natural pet food aisles, the hottest product trends include grain-free and human grade, taking superpremium natural pet food to new levels — and price points. In the pet care aisle, eco-friendly products with sustainable packaging and production processes abound. U.S. retail sales of natural pet products totaled $4.1 billion in 2012, according to a Packaged Facts estimate, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 17% over the 2008-2012 period. Annual sales growth has consistently been in the double digits for the category.

Helping underpin this steady increase in sales is consumer demand for products perceived to be safer — a pet owner priority spurred by the spring 2007 pet food recalls. According to Packaged Facts' August 2012 Pet Owner Survey, 38% of pet owners believe that natural/organic brand pet products are often better than standard national brand products, and 63% are very concerned about the safety of the pet products they buy.

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