The strength of the UK pet food market is not difficult to understand. Pet food is big business, and despite the economic downturn, global sales of cat and dog foods continue to grow. Approximately 1 in 2 UK households include a pet, with UK dog and cat populations estimated to be around 8 million each.
Purchases of pet food and animal feeds increased by 3% in 2012 to reach £6.2 billion, in line with a reported compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% for the period 2006-2012. Farm animal feeds accounted for 70% of sales in 2012, with the remaining 30% accounted for by pet food sales.
One of the key trends driving pet food development over the last few years is humanisation. Cats and dogs are increasingly regarded by their owners as companions or family members with equal status to humans.
Weight control is becoming as relevant to pets as it is to humans with a third of dogs and a quarter of cats considered to be overweight. The growing awareness of pet obesity has prompted a number of targeted initiatives and also provides further opportunities for specific diet foods for certain breeds and ages.
This, together with the rising cost of veterinary bills and the growing elderly pet population, has led to the development of a widening range of products, including natural, organic and 'wellness' foods and pet treats.
The small animal pet food market (for rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents) is indeed small in comparison with the dog and cat market; however, it has been showing the strongest growth of any of the major markets. Volumes have been up 3% to 82,000 tonnes, while value grew by 4% to £66 million.
Over 2013-2018, the turnover of local producers is projected to see a CAGR of 3% to £4.9 billion. Growth in the price of animal feed is expected to outpace growth in the price of livestock.
Therefore, alternative feed sources may increasingly be used, such as plantation crops and industrial by-products, for example by-products of the ethanol industry.
For more information on the UK pet food market, see the latest research: UK Pet Food Market
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