Grocery aisles are filled with all sorts of premium options, from gluten-free products to natural and specialty foods. But pet parents who want those same healthy choices for their dog or cat still have to make a separate trip to specialty pet stores for premium all natural selections, instead of feeding their whole family from one convenient place, industry observers say.
New research from the “I and love and you” Natural Pet Quick Poll, fielded among Market LOHAS MamboTrack panelists, shows health conscious pet owners have an overwhelming interest in buying all-natural pet products at their local grocery store and seek the convenience of one-stop shopping. Seventy-eight percent of respondents indicated they were likely to purchase their favorite natural pet food and treats at their local supermarket if they were available.
“More pet owners consider themselves pet parents these days, and that means they want higher quality natural products for their furry family members,” says Steve Ball, CEO and co-founder of the all-natural total pet care company “I and love and you”. “Premium pet food is the fastest-growing pet food segment, so it makes sense that consumers want to find the best products at their local grocery store.”
Among the survey respondents, most consumers regularly shop specialty pet stores (69%) such as Petco, Unleashed, or local independent retailers. Less than half (40%) regularly shop for pet food and treats at a natural retail chain, and about a third regularly shop their local supermarket (35%) or mass merchandiser (32%).
The top reason for buying pet food at a current location was due to selection of healthy natural pet products (54%). When asked why they would switch stores, consumers focused on issues of convenience and proximity.
“Consumers are certainly placing quality product above location when shopping for their pet, but they revealed a strong interest in one-stop-shopping,” says Bethany Stanley, principal, Market LOHAS research consultancy. “They’re looking for their favorite, local grocery retailers to stock more premium, natural pet food options.”
While consumers showed strong interest in switching to their local grocery store, key factors for switching brands are ingredient quality and sourcing, which leads almost eight in 10 (78%) pet parents to consider a switch. Among other influential factors, shoppers pointed to price and coupons (53%); pet health issues such as age, allergies or digestion (46%); and availability where they usually shop (41%).
When asked to identify the most important qualities for their pet’s food, around half or more identified ingredient issues such as no by-products (52%), all natural (50%), real meat as the number one ingredient (47%), made in the USA-sourcing (40%), and filler free (40%) as leading considerations.
The “I and love and you” Natural Pet Quick Poll was fielded online among 500 qualified Market LOHAS MamboTrack health and natural consumers who indicated owning a dog or cat and purchase natural pet food or treats.