how are human and animal tastes converging?

The UK is a nation of pet owners. According to the latest statistics from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) 59% of UK households now have a pet. 

By far the biggest proportion of these animal lovers own cats and dogs with over 12.5m households having a dog and 12.2m a cat. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic many people found they were working at home spending more time with their pets or were in a position to take on a new member of the family. 

The result was that 11% of the UK or 3.2m households acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic (source: PFMA). 

What does this mean for the £3.2bn pet food (source: PFMA) market and its manufacturers?

Humanisation of pets

“In terms of trends, one of the biggest long-standing trends is the humanisation of pets and the clear understanding that pets are considered important family members,”​ says Nicole Paley, deputy chief executive – communications & animal welfare at PFMA. “People shop for pet food in the same way they shop and consider what food to feed themselves.”

“There has been growth in interest in diets such as vegetarian pet foods and insect-based protein. Whatever diet is chosen, the role of the manufacturer is to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Pets are not small people; they each have very specific nutritional needs.”

Food manufacturers have been responding to this demand. There is now premium gourmet, raw, insect based, vegan, specialist diets and a host of innovations hitting the market from ice cream to porridge to recipe boxes delivered direct to the door.