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Four Legged Friends Living a Two Legged Lifestyle in the UK

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Four Legged Friends Living a Two Legged Lifestyle in the UK

Four Legged Friends Living a Two Legged Lifestyle in the UK
March 15
10:02 2013

While Britain’s pets are pampered and adored, many Brits are living an increasingly frugal lifestyle – and it seems life remains cushy for our four legged friends. Indeed, new research from Mintel finds dog food sales have hit a billion as the nation’s dog owners lavish their loved ones with snacks and treats.

Mintel’s research finds sales of dog food reached a record £1 billion in 2012, driven by a growth in the nation’s treat culture. Accounting for a tasty quarter (24%) of all dog food sales, snacks and treats jumped up 6% between 2011 and 2012 to reach £239 million. Meanwhile, natural treats increased 8% over the same one year period to reach £40 million.

But while sales of treats are thriving, the wet and dry dog food sector has been less impressive as consumers switch to homemade alternatives. Indeed, while scratch cooking is off the menu for many of the nation’s households, homemade food is a firm favourite for more than a third (34%) of Britain’s cat and dog owners. Accounting for 43% of all dog food sales, the wet dog food sector has remained virtually static (at £433 million in 2012) while volumes decreased by 1% between 2011 and 2012 to 309 million kg. Value sales of dry dog food have been nothing to bark about increasing just 2% between 2011 and 2012 to reach £287 million, volumes increasing less than 1% to 213 million kg in 2012.

Alex Beckett, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, says: “The same species which love nothing more than to gnaw on a juicy bone or drag in a luckless chaffinch now tuck into home-made dishes prepared by concerned owners who pay close attention to their dog or cat’s diet. That Britain remains a pet-loving nation is indisputable and the bar is raised high for the healthiness and level of innovation in pet food. Considering their owners may have been wolfing down high profile poor quality processed foods recently, you have to wonder whether Britain’s pampered pets are getting the better treatment all round.”

While consumers continue to feel the pinch and household budgets are tightened, less than one in five pet owning Brits (17%) admit they are buying fewer pet treats than a year ago to save money. And it seems that Britain’s ladies are a bit of a soft touch when it comes to treating our four legged friends, as just 15% of female dog owners say they are now buying fewer treats compared to one in five (19%) men. And proving only the best is good enough for the nation’s pampered pets, today a significant four in ten (38%) pet owners agree they would rather cut back on their own food before cutting back on their pets, while one in five (19%) pet owners are concerned there are not enough gourmet cat and dog foods available. What is more, as many as one in two (51%) owners are worried about their pet getting all of the right nutrients.

“Introducing more sophisticated recipes could support value growth for the market, considering a significant number of cat or dog owners agree there are not enough gourmet cat and dog foods. Taking cues from human food markets, such as using regionally sourced ingredients, traceability of meats or ethnic-style recipes, could translate into wet food for cats and dogs to provide more upmarket appeal.” Alex Beckett continues.

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