The Italian pet food market continues to show positive progress. In 2020the market grew both in terms of value ( +4.2% compared with 2019) andvolume ( +2% ), achieving an overall turnover of more than 2 billioneuros. The pandemic has been complicit in this growth as pets have assumedan increasingly important role in households, which now own more than 60million animals , including cats, dogs, small mammals, birds, fish andreptiles. These are the initial indications of the 14 th edition of theAssalco – Zoomark Report , compiled by Assalco , the NationalAssociation for Pet Food and Pet Care Businesses, that will be presented atZoomark International, which is scheduled to take place from 10 to 12November 2021 at BolognaFiere.

The event, the only in-person fair in 2021 will be the first internationalreference event for the sector following the suspension of trade fairactivities as a result of the Covid-19 emergency. This eagerly awaited eventis registering substantial demand from exhibitors (national and international)and operators that recognise the need to meet again at the Fair.


Cat food and dog food continue to be the most significant categories in theItalian pet food market. In 2020, IRI found that sales in the maindistribution channels – Grocery , traditiona lPet shops and Pet shopchains [1] – amounted to 2,257 million euros for a total of 626,600tonnes of pet food sold , therefore registering respective increases of 4.2%and 2% on 2019. In addition to this data are the results achieved by the petshops in in Grocery Retail [2], the new distribution format that hasgiven life to some retail sections within Grocery Retail, which in 2020 sold6,036 tonnes of cat and dog food , for a value of 34.3 million euros.

Concerning the age-old struggle between cat and dog, it is the former that iscurrently on top, driving Italians’ spending on pet food. Cat foodrepresents, in fact, 53.2% of the total value of the market in Grocery,traditional Pet shops and pet shop chains, for a value a little over 1,200million euros (+5.9% compared with 2019). Dog food represents theremaining 46.8% of the market with a value of around 1,057 million euros,a figure that is also growing (+2.3%) compared with 2019.


The market for pet food for small animals in 2020 saw revenues of a littleover 12 million euros at hypermarkets, supermarkets and minimarts.Products for birds and rodents dominate the market: foods for ornamentalbirds represent 42.1% of the market value and 50.5% of volumes ,while food for rodents makes up 30% of the value and 38.9% of thevolume.


Data from IRI also shows growth in the compartment of accessories for day-to-day pet care , within which we can find products for hygiene, play,leads, pet beds, bowls, cages, aquaria – for fish and reptiles – and variousrelated items. In 2020 this market recorded in the Grocery Retail channela value equal to 72.8 million euros and a 2.3% increase in valueand 6.7% in volume compared with 2019.

The segment of hygiene products (mats, wet wipes, shampoos, brushes,deodorants and other beauty products) confirms its importance with a value ofalmost 33 million euros , up by 14.7% compared with the previous year.Also the segment for pet toys has reached significant dimensions, with anoverall business volume close to 6 million euros (+1.7% compared with2019).

Cat litter trays , a segment analysed separately, in 2020 recorded salesin the Grocery Retail channel of more than 76 million euros , anincrease in value of 3.1% compared with the previous year.

“2020 confirmed the positive progress of the Italian pet food and pet caremarkets,” stressed Gianmarco Ferrari, President of Assalco. “During such adramatic time as the Covid pandemic, the role of pets in households has becomeeven more important, as has been confirmed by Italians’ heightened attentionto pet foods and pet care products that are essential to their pets’wellbeing. As pet food and the veterinary services are essential services forpet owners, we are renewing our call for a rethink on the possibility tolighten the tax burden on pet-owning households.” Added Ferrari. “Today in ourcountry pet food and veterinary services are subject to VAT of 22%, the sameas luxury goods. In other countries, like Germany, which considers the socialrole of pets, this VAT level is 7%, less than a third of the figure in Italy.We are urging, therefore, that pet food and veterinary services berepositioned within the special 10% bracket.”

___“We considered it important to confirm the hosting of the event in 2021,”announced Gianpiero Calzolari, “to offer exhibitors and internationaloperators from the pet industry the opportunity to meet in person for astrategic moment of interaction and networking with commercial contacts. Wemade this decision together with the companies, sensing from them their needto meet following a period in which the sector has demonstrated stability anda capacity for innovation. Over this last challenging year, in which it hasnot been possible to hold in-person events, we have launched new initiativesand consolidated important alliances to provide the sector with new businessopportunities and to boost international competitiveness. We are sure that theacceleration in the vaccine campaigns worldwide, the consequent lifting oftravel restrictions and the context of utmost safety that BolognaFiere willensure at Zoomark International 2021 are vital to supporting the success ofthe event, which after this autumn edition will return to its traditionalspring dates in 2023.”_

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