KANSAS CITY, MO. — The year 2023 was dogged by persistent inflation, not only for the pet food market but also for countless other consumer categories from groceries to gasoline. In the pet nutrition space, however, 2023 was also defined by bold innovation, strides in sustainability, and a continued blurring of the lines as pets become true  members of the family.

Of the nearly 1,200 articles published by Pet Food Processing to-date in 2023, a handful of stories stood apart from the pack. These most-read articles cover the gamut of industry growth, strategic investments, divestments and partnerships, upcoming label regulations and what they mean for processors and regulators, opportunities in international markets, and a multitude of trends to watch. Keep scrolling to revisit our top 10 most-read articles from 2023.

Top 10 headlines from 2023

Ten Pet nutrition demand fuels more than $2 billion in facility investments (Jan. 5)
As consumer demand evolves, the pet food space is forced to expand, fueling several facility announcements. From July to December 2022, Pet Food Processing covered 48 new facility announcements, expansions and investments from processors, ingredient and equipment suppliers, and distributors. Altogether, the facility announcements represent more than $2.4 billion in investments within this rapidly expanding industry.

NinePet industry sales climb to nearly $137 billion in 2022 (March 24)
According to the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2022 State of the Industry data, total pet industry sales topped $136.8 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 10.8% from 2021. As in years past, pet food and treat sales represented the highest spend category in 2022, totaling $58.1 billion (42.5% of total industry sales), up a solid 16.2% over 2021.

EightPurina to acquire pet treat facility from Red Collar (Feb. 7 – March 10)
Arbor Investments completed the sale of a pet treat facility in Miami, Okla., formerly operated by its portfolio company Red Collar Pet Foods, to Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. The transaction followed a series of divestitures by Red Collar to the tune of $840 million. The pet treat facility is expected to expand Purina’s capacity and will serve as the 22nd Purina-owned and operated facility in the United States.

SevenTop trends seen at Global Pet Expo 2023 (March 31)
This year’s event, held March 22 to 24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, attracted thousands of attendees from far and wide to peruse an expansive show floor and a 45,000-square-foot New Product Section to connect and learn about the latest and greatest the industry has to offer.

SixThe trends expected to drive emerging pet brands (March 20)
In its “2023 Pet Trends for Pet Food and Pet Supply Brands” report, NielsenIQ shared the top trends emerging pet supply and nutrition brands should keep their eyes on to succeed in the market. These include inflationary pressures, channel preferences and nuances, trending ingredients and claims, sustainability, and more.

FiveAAFCO approves new label regulations for pet food (July 31)
At its 2023 Annual Meeting, membership of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approved new dog and cat food label guidelines. The vote marks the culmination of a yearslong initiative, dubbed pet food label modernization or PFLM, to provide consistency and transparency for consumers. The revised Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food will include new standards for nutrition information, ingredient statements, and storage and handling instructions.

Four Pet food sales gaining speed in the Philippines (Feb. 2)
According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), US dog and cat food exports to the Philippines hit a record high in 2021 at $51 million. Trade data from the US Census Bureau shows US dog and cat food exports to the Philippines were up 3% in the first 11 months of 2022, compared to the previous 11-month period.

ThreeTemptations introduces its first cat food formula (March 9)
The brand’s inaugural complete-and-balanced formula for felines consists of crunchy and creamy “pockets” mixed with dry kibble offering high palatability to cats. Formulated with high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, the new cat food comes in four flavors: Tasty Chicken, Seafood Medley, Tempting Tuna & Chicken and Block Party BBQ.

TwoThe J.M. Smucker Co. sells pet food brands for $12 billion (Feb. 9 – April 28)
Post Holdings, Inc. acquired several pet food brands from The J.M. Smucker Co. in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. Brands divested by The J.M. Smucker Co. included Rachael Ray Nutrish, Nature’s Recipe, 9Lives, Kibbles ‘n Bits and Gravy Train brands. Combined, the brands generated sales of $1.5 billion in the year ended April 30, 2022, according to the company.

OneLooking ahead: The pet nutrition industry prepares for 2023 (Jan. 3)
Nearly 100 years of commercial pet food production have seen the industry evolve from dry kibble to emerging formats and from value ingredients to the most premium inclusions. Transparency, sustainability, automation, humanization and premiumization are trends that are shaping the industry and the key players within it.

Honorable mentions

Purina commits billions in pet food R&D, production to foster growth (Feb. 28)
 The company has set aside 3 billion CHF (roughly $3.2 billion USD) to invest in its pet nutrition operations through 2025. These investments will be distributed globally, from the United States to Poland, Thailand, Brazil and China, and will benefit Purina’s dry and wet pet food production capabilities.

State of the US pet food and treat industry, 2023 (Nov. 7)
Pet Food Processing’s annual State of the Industry reports have been widely read and shared throughout the industry since we launched in early 2018 — and our 2023 report is no different. From the latest category sales data to timely trends and consumer insights, we have you covered on where the industry has been and where it’s headed in 2024.

Royal Canin debuts new diet to tackle skin disease in dogs (Jan. 18)
 SKINTOPIC™ is designed to help manage canine atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin disease that affects one in every 10 dogs, according to Royal Canin. The new diet is formulated with DERMAUXILIUM, a patented blend of nutrients and antioxidants that promote skin and coat health.

Taking stock of pet food trends through a specialty retail lens (Feb. 7)
In speaking with independent pet retail professionals, two major trends stood out under the umbrellas of humanization and premiumization. One is an increased interest in function, through which countless supplement brands and solution-based pet food and treat formulations have emerged. The other is a growing demand for fresh, frozen and raw diets, which speaks to pet owners’ desires to present their pets with food that resembles their own.

Wellness, personalization and sustainability trends driving pet nutrition (March 8)
As pets transform from companion status to valued family members, consumers are seeking a variety of nutritional products to support them, driving growth in the pet food and treat industry. In its 2023 Insights Report, ADM identified three major categories within pet nutrition expected to lead future growth — balanced wellness, proactive personalization and sustainability.

Pet food trends to watch in 2024 (Dec. 22)
Following up on ADM’s 2023 Insights report, Pet Food Processing checked in with Jorge Martínez, president of ADM Pet Nutrition, to discuss trends and expectations for the pet nutrition industry in 2024. Technological advancements stood out as a potential harbinger for industry growth in the coming year.



A number of pet food recalls occurred in 2023, but three in particular were among Pet Food Processing’s most-read articles over the year. This includes Purina’s dry dog food recall in March due to potential vitamin D toxicity, which involved nine lots of its Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL prescription dog food; Royal Canin’s prescription cat food recall in February due to mislabeling; and a widespread recall by TFP Nutrition in November, which involved all dog and cat food products manufactured at its Texas facility.

This attention to recall coverage highlights pet owners’ hyperawareness and high expectations for pet food safety, as well as the industry’s continued vigilance.

According to a study of food industry recalls by MasterControl, there were twice as many recalls of pet food and animal products over the past five years than recalls of baby formula. Additionally, in its review of food recalls spanning 2003 to 2022, The Journal of Food Protection reported there have been 3,691 pet nutrition recalls over the period, with 68% representing pet food and ingredients.

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