ROCKVILLE, Md. — While North America and Europe remain top dogs in the global pet food market, a recent report by Packaged Facts indicates other countries, particularly in South America and Asia, are gaining market share and influencing trends.

“The pet food market, especially the market for dog and cat food, has truly gone global,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “The national markets showing highest longer-term promise for future growth period include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and South Korea.”

Packaged Facts’ “Pet Food: US market and International Perspectives” report surveyed more than a dozen countries and determined international markets with the highest potential for long-term growth include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia and South Korea. Among these, the growing influence of Brazil and China in the global pet food market is expected to make the biggest waves.

Brazil is home to more than 132 million pets, of which 77 million are dogs or cats. As the fourth largest pet population in the world, pet food sales total at least $1 million USD. “Global pet food kingpins” Mars and Nestlé operate in the Brazilian market, providing a strong foundation for future growth and influence.

Brazil has the fourth-largest pet population in the world, behind China, the United States and the United Kingdom, according to Packaged Facts.

“From a global perspective point of view, the Brazilian pet market is prized, and for good reason,” Sprinkle said. “As the world’s second largest producer of dry pet food after the U.S. and a huge exporter, Brazil harbors major opportunities for pet food manufacturers and marketers. Which is why, though already heavily invested in the market, both Mars and Nestlé opened new pet food plants in Brazil in 2017, both to ramp up production for the domestic market and to export to Latin American neighbors like Argentina, Colombia, and Peru.”

Brazil’s growing influence can also be attributed to deep family values meshed with the pets-as-family trend, which has given way to the growth of premium-priced foods and specialized, functional diets.

In the Chinese pet food market, increasing pet ownership and the emergence of premium pet food options have contributed to notable annual growth rates. Packaged Facts points out the increase of young adults living in urban settings and owning primarily small dogs and cats has influenced the trend toward single-serve portions, pouches and wet food.

“No country has more pet market growth potential than China, which is partly a function of yet-to-be-realized pet population growth and broader usage of commercial pet food,” Sprinkle said.

The premiumization of pet supplies, such as smart feeders, tech-based products and improved-quality cat litter, is expected to seep into the Chinese pet food market. Sales have already supported this prediction, as natural pet foods outperform regular brands and grain-free, freeze-dried and specialized pet foods gain traction. 

“Many emerging and mid-level markets almost inevitably follow the pet industry trends set by the developed markets of North America and Western Europe, indicating that a rising tide of pet food premiumization in China seems inevitable,” Sprinkle said.

Learn more about Packaged Facts’ report, Pet Food: U.S. Market and International Perspectives.


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