The pandemic may have increased pet owner focus on sustainability,
convenience, health, thrift and other trends.
Pet food industry prediction relies on lessons learned in the past, but justas 2020 was unprecedented, so too 2021 looks like a mash-up of 1918, 1861 and1969. The ongoing pandemic, economic problems and social issues make this adifficult year to predict. However, analysts at Euromonitor Internationalidentified trends that may guide consumers as they continue to adapt toturbulent times, in the report “Euromonitor’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends2021.”
While Euromonitor didn’t put these trends in terms of pet food, these consumermotivations have ramifications for dog, cat and other pet food companies. Thepandemic may have increased pet owner focus on sustainability, convenience,health, thrift and other trends.
Build Back Better
Pet food companies have been moving towards the triple bottom line of people,planet and profits since well before the pandemic. The pandemic acceleratedthis with 70% of business professionals telling Euromonitor that they believethe coronavirus will increase focus on sustainability.
Wildlife conservation’s economic value to humanity became clear in theCOVID-19 pandemic. Genetic evidence, published in Nature, suggests thatendangered pangolins may have played a role in the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2coronavirus, along with bats.
Pet food companies can help pangolin and other wildlife by supportingconservation efforts that reduce the chances of another pandemic. The pet foodindustry can demand sustainability and husbandry standards for livestock andfarmed animals to support biosecurity, animal health and ecological stability.Pet owners tend to be animal lovers, and research suggests that pet food labelclaims about animal welfare appeal to them. By supporting conservation, petfood brands could show a double layer of support for pet owners by protectingwildlife, while subsequently severing pathways by which diseases pass fromexploited wildlife to humans and morph into pandemics.
The pandemic made a trip to the pet food store more complex and stressful. Petowners may crave the simple conveniences of life before COVID-19. At the sametime, delivery services have made buying pet food easier as more consumersturn to e-commerce. Likewise, subscription services have increased inpopularity.
Going outdoors became a luxury in 2020, as parks and camping sites became someof the few places people could recreate at safe distances. Dogs have alwaysmade great camping pals, and the pandemic may spur demand for healthy, on-the-go meal bars for dogs, or similar foods based on people’s camping victuals.
By phygital, they mean a combination of physical and digital. For pet foodretailers, this has meant a rapid growth in buying products online and pickingthem up in parking lots. Heaving around a 40-pound sack of dog food from storeto home has often been a hinderance to some consumers. The convenience ofhaving a big bag dropped straight into one’s car may have an effect on big bagsales in brick-and-mortar pet retail locations.
Playing with Time
As people’s work routines changed, so did their schedules. In many cases,people found themselves more capable of flexibility. Perhaps this allows themmore time with their pets, building the human-animal bond.
Restless and Rebellious
Along with the pandemic, social issues rose to the fore around the world. In2020, 29% of global consumers were actively involved in political and socialissues, according to Euromonitor. Pet food companies and their suppliers couldsupport initiatives to end systemic bigotry.
The near constant fear of infection has grown into a wider concern withhygiene, health and sanitation. In the pet food industry, products marketedwith health and wellness claims have seen increasing attention during thepandemic.
Shaken and Stirred
Depression and mental health had a moderate or severe impact on 73% of globalconsumers’ everyday lives last year, according to Euromonitor. Pets oftenserved as surrogates when people could no longer spend time with their otherfamily members. At the same time, people looked for solace in new pets asdemand increased dramatically, especially in the early pandemic.
The pandemic brought with it an economic downturn as hundreds of millions losttheir jobs worldwide and economies froze in mid-step. Large bags ofconventional and economy brand dry pet foods could see more attention fromconsumers tightening finances.
Workplaces in New Spaces
For those who suddenly found themselves working from home, the pandemicblurred the boundaries between work and home life. Pets in the workplacebecame the norm for many of these people.
Source:Tim Wall Petfood Industry
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