Just as nutraceuticals can help humans achieve healthier and longer lives, the right supplements can help your pet live longer, too.
According to a report, “Pet Supplements Market in the U.S., 6th Edition,” pet food supplement sales in the US totaled $580 million in 2016. The report points out that dog owners are the biggest buyers of pet supplements, out-buying cat owners three times over.
It may surprise you to learn that pet product trends actually mirror trends taking place in the lives of their human owners.
An article published by Innova Market Insights states, “
“With the rising disposable income of pet owners and a tendency to regard pets as part of the family, it’s not surprising that specialized trends for prepared foods for humans, led by interest in health, snacking, and indulgence, are also increasingly apparent in the pet foods sector. The number of pet food launches recorded globally by Innova Market Insights has risen consistently in recent years as more households take on pets of various kinds, the use of prepared pet foods rises, and the market segments and focuses increasingly on added-value options.
In line with the food and drinks market as a whole, the pet foods market is becoming increasingly diverse with many products, particularly premium and super-premium lines, now targeting very specific nutritional requirements—everything from foods for puppies and kittens to foods for senior dogs and cats, obese dogs, indoor cats, and even neutered cats.”
Since health and overall wellness regarding their furry friends have become important factors for owners, it makes sense that pet supplement sales are experiencing robust growth.
But the Packaged food report also notes additional factors that are impacting the strong interest in nutraceuticals for pets. For instance, there is an increased concern regarding age- and obesity-related health factors for pets in the US, and the growing trend of pet owners defining themselves as the parent of their pet rather than its owner.
In addition, pet owners are also concerned about pet food allergies and intolerances. Thus we are also seeing a trend toward more natural products.
Supplements are also viewed as a form of preventive care, a good investment that may help reduce expensive visits the vet’s office.
Packaged Facts mentions the following factors as influencing the pet supplements market:
1. Joint health, digestive health and condition-specific supplements have opportunity to compete with formulated pet foods and treats
Packaged Facts survey data found that joint supplements and digestive health pet food supplements top the list of the supplement types most frequently purchased. But beyond joint and digestive health, pet owners are also seeking out supplements to aid with cognitive health, skin/coat health and heart health. This indicates that there is definite opportunity for supplement marketers that offer condition-specific products to compete with similarly formulated pet foods and pet treats. Pet supplement marketers must find ways to emphasize the benefits of their products beyond what's offered in food and treats.
2. Supplement marketers addressing issue of palatability
A long-standing problem for pet supplement marketers is providing a product that pets will actually consume. Owners can't explain to a pet why the supplement is good for them, and so are left to try to disguise liquids, powders and pills to make it easier to administer the product, with smearing on peanut butter, wrapping pills in cheese, and cutting holes in pieces of hot dogs being some of the less-than-optimal options. To combat this problem, some supplement makers, such as Vets Plus Inc., have begun developing functional treats. Others, including W. F. Young Inc., have turned their focus on making supplements easier for pets to take, investigating options such as chews. Others still, such as Heyrex with its soluble pet supplements, are developing novel solutions to the palatability problem.
3. Cat supplements offer more than hairball relief
Cats are known to be finicky animals, so the thought of trying to get one to take a nutritional supplement may give some cat owners pause. However, new developments in delivery options, as well as increasing understanding of how nutrition plays a part in a cat's overall wellness, have begun to change some cat owners' minds. Although hairball control supplements are still in high demand, marketers have begun targeting other conditions specific to cats (i.e., UTIs and kidney problems), releasing cat-specific supplements, and in general giving what supplement marketers had previously considered the "other companion animal” more attention.
4. For natural pet supplements, turmeric/curcumin crosses over from human market
Natural and organic have long been pet market buzzwords, but because so much of the chemical composition of supplements comes from man-made sources, finding natural or organic supplements can be a challenge. However, consumer demand is high and the market has been flooded by natural products over the past several years. While there are a few interesting herbs and superfoods being incorporated into pet supplements, one of the most interesting making its way from the human supplement market into the pet industry is turmeric, the spice that gives curry dishes their flavor and color. One of the compounds in turmeric, curcumin, has gained favor in the supplements market due to the number of health benefits it is believed to provide, primarily through its anti-inflammatory effects. Amazing Nutritionals with its Turmeric Chews, Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets with its Curcumin supplement, Natura Petz with its Termeric the Magnificent supplement, and Fera Pet Organics with its Hip + Joint supplement that contains turmeric are only some of the marketers participating in this trend. Packaged Facts is watching to see how much staying power this intriguing ingredient has in the pet supplements segment.
5. Cannabidiol supplements generate interest, pose problems
Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the active ingredients in marijuana, is used in human medicine to help with a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety and epilepsy. As with many health-related human trends, the use of CBD has crossed over into the pet market, and several marketers have introduced CBD supplements for pets, the majority of which do not have a large presence elsewhere in the supplements market but instead specialize in products containing CBD. This trend is gaining momentum among certain circles even though veterinarians' views on the supplement vary and there is a lack of scholarly literature on the subject specifically in relation to pets. Companies competing in this segment tout that their products aid in everything from "overall health and wellness" to treating advanced age-related conditions such joint and inflammation issues.
Looking ahead, the trend watchers believe that pet owners will continue to demand the same qualities in pet food that they want in their own meals, such as familiar ingredients, sustainability and nutrition.