2020 has been a roller coaster for every industry, business and personglobally. The pet food industry will survive the uncertainty, but in whatshape? Perhaps we can look to 2019 as a baseline and possible foretelling offuture growth.

Entering this year, the global pet food market stood at more than US$91billion, with US$36 billion of that in the largest market, the U.S., accordingfrom Euromonitor and Nielsen. U.S. sales grew 7.3% year-over-year (YOY) in2019, and Packaged Facts initially projected 6% growth for 2020.

Globally, the market rose 6.5% YOY in 2019, driven by continuing double-digitgains in Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America, Euromonitor said, andby ongoing premiumization and humanization. Even Western Europe saw smallgrowth. New data from FEDIAF (the European Pet Food Federation), whichrepresents 18 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, showed that pet foodsales in the region increased 2.6% annually, reaching 21 billion euros(US$23.6 billion) in 2019.

The evolving COVID-19 pandemic crisis and ongoing economic pain may cause acomplete turnaround in pet food’s fortunes for 2020 and beyond. Yet, with mostpeople still seemingly able to keep their beloved pets despite some financialhardship, the outlook is cautiously optimistic. Pets are family members thatstill need to eat, even if some pet owners have to trade down to lower-pricedpet foods.

More positive pet food projections

Packaged Facts has revised its forecast from April 2020, which projected anoverall loss of 17% for the U.S. pet care market for the year; pet food wasone of the few bright spots at 4% expected growth. Now, after pet adoptionshave continued to increase and sales of pet products have kept pace, PackagedFacts projects the U.S. pet care market to decline only 0.9% for 2020. Petfood – now expected to grow by 7% this year – and other pet products (9%projected growth) will help offset ongoing losses in pet services.

Even better, Packaged Facts expects the pet care market to rebound healthilyin 2021, registering 7.6% growth, with pet food increasing 5.5%. Through 2024,growth is projected for at least 5% annually.

For the global market, the depth of the recession will play the largest rolein how pet food and pet care fare, according to Euromonitor. The key will bethe level and type of value for their hard-earned, possibly scarce, money thatpet owners believe they are receiving from the pet foods they buy.

Source: Debbie Phillips-Donaldson is editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry

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