The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates $44.1 BILLION will be spent on pet food and pet treats in the US in 2021 (a projected increase of $2.1 billion over what was spent in 2020). If we dial our focus into the sub-category of pet treats only, Packaged Facts estimated U.S. retail sales of pet treats would reach $6.7 billion by the end of 2019. The estimates for 2021 and beyond are even higher.
Overall, pet parents are requesting more healthy, natural, and quality treats for their fur babies, and this demand is expected to grow exponentially. We’ve identified seven important pet treat trends we are following for 2021 and into the future. We hope you enjoy reviewing our list.
1. Focus on Natural Ingredients in Pet Treats
Clean, healthy, and nutritious pet treats have been growing in popularity over the years. Pet owners are looking for food choices that mirror their personal preferences with a focus on more wholesome and natural-based options. They are looking for quality natural-based ingredients with recognizable names. They want natural-based pet treats that contain no fillers, no grains, no gluten, no byproducts, no chemicals, no preservatives, no synthetics, no artificial dyes, no artificial flavors, no hormones, and no antibiotics.
2. Continued Push Toward Limited Ingredients in Pet Treats
Pet owners are demanding greater transparency in labeling because they want to know what ingredients are in their treats. For those that prefer treats with more than one ingredient, they are generally looking for treats made with a limited number of natural ingredients with recognizable names. For example, they might look for treats with whole grains such as barley or oats or be interested in treats that contain fruits such as apples or carrots. They are generally avoiding products that are derived from wheat, corn, or soy.
3. Strong Preference for Single Ingredient Pet Treats
Single-ingredient treats are growing in popularity because they contain ONE ingredient, so it is easy for pet parents to know EXACTLY what they are purchasing. Meat-based treats made from chicken and beef are the most popular options. Due to portability and shelf life, some popular options include freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried chicken liver, dehydrated chicken breast, and dehydrated beef heart. For pet parents who prefer vegan or vegetarian options, dehydrated sweet potatoes and dehydrated carrots are popular single ingredient choices.
4. Seeking Safer Alternatives to Rawhide Dog Chews
As the choking and intestinal blockage risks of rawhide chews are becoming more widely known, pet parents are looking for safe, long-lasting, and easily digestible dog chews. Single-ingredient natural chews made from beef tendons and beef tracheas are popular choices. Dogs love the taste, and they are long-lasting to help clean teeth and remove bacteria at the gumline. They are also ideal for puppies that are teething because they help massage the gums and help teeth to come in with less destructive chewing of household items.
5. Focus on Pet Treats Offering a Functional Health Benefit
Many pet parents are also looking for pet treats that offer a functional or perceived health-related benefit. Pet treats that contain ingredients such as flaxseed or turmeric are popular options. Flaxseed has been shown to reduce itching, improve skin and coat health, reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and promote overall pet health. Turmeric is reported to help reduce inflammation, improve mobility, suppress tumors and cancer cells, improve cardiovascular health, and offer pain relief. Many pet parents like the idea of not only offering their pet a quality treat but also promoting overall pet health at the same time.
6. Increasing Requests for Pet Treats Made in the USA
Recalls of pet products made outside the country have caused many pet parents to look for US-made products. Due to more stringent manufacturing controls, many pet parents feel safer purchasing treats made in the USA, and studies show they are willing to pay more for this peace of mind.
They are looking for ingredients sourced in the US, as well as having the treats manufactured in the United States. In a previous survey, Packaged Facts found that 42% of dog owners and 37% of cat owners who purchased treats in the previous twelve months bought those marketed as “made in the U.S.A.,” making this the most popular formulation choice. This trend is projected to increase in 2021 and beyond.
7. Growing Trend of Marketing Pet Treats as Pet Snacks
As many pet owners worked from home during the pandemic, there was a rise in the popularity of snack foods for consumers. This snacking trend also carried over to pets, as many pet parents enjoyed snack breaks with their fur babies. Buying trends indicate consumers have been more open to trying new products, and they often prefer to buy single items or smaller packages to see how much their pets enjoy the treats.
Looking for Quality, Natural Private Label Pet Treats?
If you are thinking about selling a line of natural pet treats, working with our private label company can be a great way to grow your business. We currently have nine stock formulas of dog treats, and we also offer healthy horse cookies. In addition, we can create custom formulas to differentiate your treats. We can help you create your own brand of pet treats featuring your logo and branding. We can also help you grow your business with our continually expanding line of quality pet products.
About Natural Pet Innovations™
Natural Pet Innovations™ is a manufacturer of proprietary, natural-based, made in the USA product lines for dogs, cats, and horses. We specialize in creating turnkey private label products for our worldwide partners. Over the last 10 years, we have perfected our process. Please contact us today to learn how easy it is to create or expand your business by partnering with us.