CHICAGO — With roughly 70% of all US households owning at least one pet, food and treat brands are rising to meet increased consumer demands for humanization, premiumization and health-focused nutrition options.

NielsenIQ recently shared some of the most-searched pet food terms on, revealing pet owners’ inclinations for functional formulas and emerging formats.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, the number of Amazon searches for “low calorie pet food” increased by 113%, and the number of searches for “frozen pet food” was up 111%. Similarly, searches for “diabetic support pet food” were up 85% over the same period.

The number of Amazon searches for “seafood ingredient pet food” increased by 37%, and searches for “organic pet food” increased by 35%.

The demand for these types of products is gaining momentum, but the supply isn’t necessarily keeping pace. NielsenIQ reported “less than 1% of products that possess the growing attributes above actually claim those characteristics on their packaging.”

It’s also important to note that while some pet food and treat formulations adhere to on-trend labeling claims, not all brands choose to advertise those claims on the product packaging.

NielsenIQ shared that in the “free from artificial flavors” category —which accounts for $5.5 billion in sales — 94% of products actually qualify for this claim, but only 28% of these products explicitly state the claim on their packaging. According to NielsenIQ, this represents a huge opportunity gap for companies competing in this space.

The be-all and end-all is this: pet food and treat manufacturers must be conscientious of trending consumer demands and how those sought-after claims fit in to their existing product assortment. If the shoe fits, brands can reap the benefits of these up-and-coming ingredient categories and use these trends to inform new product innovation.

Keep up with the latest pet food trends on our Trends page.