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What Product-Savvy Pet Owners Want

K2VITAL®
 
Albion Minerals®
Pet Owners Pet Owners

Did you know 66 percent of U.S. households own a pet? That’s about 86.9 million homes with one (or more) pets. Most of these pet owners are millennials (33 percent), followed by Gen X (25 percent) and Baby Boomers (24 percent),1 and as many of us know, most of these people tend to think of their pets as their children. They are emotionally drawn to providing the same level of care for their pets as themselves or even better. This is particularly true when it comes to their animal’s daily health care routines and food intake. These savvy consumers are searching for personalized products that can support their pet’s needs, including stress and anxiety levels, bone and joint, gut health, oral health, skin and coat health, as well as weight management and daily essential vitamins and nutrients for healthy aging.

With dogs being the most popular pets in America (65.1 percent), then cats (46.5 percent), freshwater fish (11.1 percent), and other small animals,1 it’s no surprise that dog-specific supplements dominated the market and accounted for more than 39 percent of the revenue share in 2021.2 Overall, it was reported that the global pet supplement market was valued at $2.49 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach $3.73 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.9 percent.3

Not only are consumers buying more supplements, but they are also willing to spend more when it comes to their fur babies. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), $136.8 billion was spent on pets in the U.S. in 2022, with pet food and treats taking the market share ($58.1 billion).1 A second report by the Insurance Information Institute, Inc. stated that the total pet industry expenditure in the U.S. was $123.6 billion in 2023, up 19 percent from $103.6 billion in 2020.3 Both reports show strong success and growth in the pet care and pet supplement industry. However, with this incredible growth has come a slew of new products. For example, a quick Amazon search for “dog supplements” yielded more than 5,000 results. As the choices become more plentiful and possibly even confusing, consumers need products that are simple, personalized to their pet, easy to use and offer powerful health benefits for overall pet well-being.

One of the major dietary supplement consumers desires for their pets is a product that can improve an imperfect diet and support healthy weight management. Sadly, roughly 60 percent of dogs in the U.S. were classified as overweight or obese, according to a 2020 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. What concerns us the most at PetNutra, is the impact that pet obesity has on the overall increased risk of chronic health conditions. These consumers expect brand manufacturers to develop pet food, treats and dietary supplements using whole foods with minimal additives, such as fillers, flavors and preservatives, that offer fortified, efficacious supplementation.

More savvy buyers are looking for products with clinically backed ingredients. In fact, Grand View Research reported that prescribed pet supplements are expected to register the fastest CAGR during its forecasted period between 2024 and 2030.3 This is because prescription pet supplements are formulated to target specific health conditions, are typically backed by clinical research, and have been proven to be safe and effective. However, over-the-counter (OTC) pet supplements held the largest revenue share of 86.6 percent in 2023. Both prescription and OTC supplements offer a great opportunity to provide a finished product to consumers focused on improving the health of their pets.

What Ingredients Are Gaining Traction?

Just like human health, some of the most popular ingredients for supplementation include omega-3s, multivitamins, probiotics and specialty ingredients like alfalfa, which offer a great source of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. For example, a branded non-GMO (genetically modified organism) alfalfa extract, Vitalfa, provides 52 percent plant-based protein and is a natural green coloring replacement for those unwanted synthetic dyes and caramel colorings.

Pre- and Probiotics

One independent study reported that 27 percent of Millennial pet parents turned to probiotics for overall health benefits, some of which include digestive, immune and healthy aging, as well as urinary health, skin health, oral/dental support, stress and anxiety, and more. It also reported that pet food fortified with probiotics was the primary source of supplementation, but 91 percent of users purchased a second probiotic product, 58 percent of which were treats, followed by toppers (44 percent).4 As a leading specialty formulator and manufacturer, Brewster Probiotics can attest to the uptick in pre- and probiotic-specific custom pet formulations. Over the past five years, finished brands have increasingly requested to include prebiotics, like its GOFOS fiber, which promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and inhibits the proliferation of potentially harmful bacteria, combined with probiotic strains to support gut health, immunity and reduce stool odors.

Pectins and Saponins

For improved digestion, ingredients, such as psyllium husk and seed, can help pets stay regular and support gut health. Saponins are known for their potent antioxidant activities, support for a healthy inflammatory response, immune health, and cardiovascular support. Ingredients like yucca and quillaja are popular and can help reduce odor, support a healthy digestive tract and promote a healthy inflammatory response.5

Citrus-derived Ingredients

Citrus-derived ingredients, such as flavonoids and bioflavonoids, are potent antioxidants and help support metabolic health and immune health. These powerful ingredients can be drawn from multiple citrus courses like oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and grapefruits, each contributing to its own profiles and health benefits. However, it’s essential to understand these citrus-derived extracts’ ORAC and NF-kB activity values to measure their effectiveness.

Trending Formats for Pets

Not only do pet parents want specialty ingredients for specific health conditions, but they also want them in an easy-to-use format, such as kibble, treats, powders and toppers, and dental applications. Chewables are one of the most preferred forms of supplementation, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the global revenue.3 Chewables are not only easy and convenient for owners, but they also provide increased absorption due to the pet’s saliva, which contains digestive enzymes that help break down the product and better absorb the nutrients.

Additionally, Grand View Research reports that powders for toppers and mix-ins will have the highest CAGR from 2024 to 2030 due to their ease of use and increased absorption for better efficiency.1

A Litany of Choices

It’s alluring for brands and retailers to have a wide variety of products that address various specific pet health issues. However, as a consumer, the litany of choices can be confusing, frustrating and expensive. As an industry, we really need to consider what we can do to make consumers feel more confident in their purchasing decisions. Offering more comprehensive broad-spectrum supplements with clinically proven benefits can be the answer to reducing confusion and frustration. One innovation in this category is the newly launched Corecare Daily Canine soft chew by PetNutra. These chewable daily supplements provide clinically backed ingredients, including the citrus bioflavonoid blend, NU BIOFLAVONOIDS, which has been shown to positively affect the microbiome, boost GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), support a healthy insulin response, and blood sugar levels, and promote antioxidant activity.6-9 The chews also include S. boulardii, yucca, quillaia saponins, and functional yeast to support overall pet health.

Products such as this exceed consumer expectations by offering clinically backed ingredients typically only provided by a veterinarian’s office.

Looking Ahead

As the number of pets in homes increases, it’s anticipated that caring for the longevity and health span of their years will continue to be a top priority. Because of this, the number of pet supplements on the market, especially all-natural products, will continue to increase steadily. To stand out, developing a product that offers clinically backed ingredients, ease of use, and personalization is vital. We also anticipate consumers asking more questions about the finished product’s traceability and sustainability initiatives, just like they do in their everyday products.

Considering each of these staples, there is an excellent opportunity to meet these savvy pet owners in the pet aisle with the nutrition products they seek. NIE

References:

1 www.americanpetproducts.org/research-insights/industry-trends-and-stats.

2 www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/pet-care-market.

3 www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/pet-supplements-market.

4 www.petfoodindustry.com/latest-news/article/15469842/study-shares-pet-owner-perceptions-of-probiotics.

5 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10177514/.

6 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fsn3.3654.

7 www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/16/5/650.

8 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35796695/.

9 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31183921/.

As the CEO of PetNutra, Michelle Groff-Lancaster brings more than 20 years of expertise in supporting businesses with innovative strategies, advancing digital transformation programs, and implementing disruptive startup technologies that produce measurable results and drive business growth. Her compassion and love of pets have led her to introduce PetNutra, a brand of research-proven health supplements for dogs, cats and horses. Her goal is to formulate science-backed nutraceuticals clinically shown to support overall animal well-being, including maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, intestinal health, support of a healthy inflammatory response, promote antioxidant protection, and more.

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