Pets are big business. The UK, though not as pet mad as some other countries, has a large and growing pet market; around 34% of households in the UK own a dog, and 28% own a cat. This has led to a burgeoning pet food market worth £3.3bn (2022), the growth of which has allowed for a deep diversification of offerings and innovation within the market.
“Premiumisation” refers to the process by which a product may become more premium over time. This move has been big for the pet food industry, with products evolving from simple biscuit or jelly-based foods to health-based, more nutritional offerings. A combination of the general public’s increasing awareness of nutrition and health coupled with the growing success of subscription-based business models has led to the premium end of the pet food industry finding large success.
Further to this, beyond fancier foods, manufacturers are also producing pro-vitality foods meant to contain health-boosting nutrients to keep your pet healthy (so you don’t have to). On the flip side, of course, are the pet treats, which ironically comprise a similar share of the pet food market to the dietary segment.
The presents a wealth of opportunity to the budding pet-food entrepreneur; although the market is relatively well consolidated, the space is always ready and welcome to any new star products.
The increasing size of the pet market, coupled with our uncoupling from the EU, has led to an increased domestic demand for pet food from UK manufacturers, leading some equipment providers like Reiser UK, experiencing large peaks in demand and the need for new lines of equipment.
And manufacturing processes are evolving, as they always have, alongside the buying habits of consumers. Due to the proliferation of subscription-based models, many consumers now buy products (including pet food) in one large batch on a monthly basis, rather than as and when the product is needed. Manufacturers have thus had to adapt to a new production timeline and process.
The pet food market certainly isn’t going away any time soon. The degree to which the sector’s premium end can sustain itself through the coming recession remains to be seen, and is likely to suffer at least a small dip, but will no doubt prove resilient as people still make room in their budgets to treat their pets.
The UK’s diverse manufacturing industry, propelled by other strong sub-sectors such as pet food, will continue to adapt and overcome whatever challenges the world may throw its way – no damage could be worse than that inflicted by its own government’s disastrous Brexit plans. Even from the wreckage of Brexit, treasure can be found. Tapping into a newly isolated domestic market, while creating world-beating products to sell internationally, will now be the focus of many.
A surge in pet ownership during the past two to three years has boosted what was already a solid and growing market in the UK, with pet food manufacturing the ready beneficiary of this trend