may 2021

Supplements and pets: an ever tighter dyad.

German shepherd running - image about supplements and petfood representing dog health

The humanization trend is more and more relevant also in spurring the growth of nutritional supplements in the petfood market

During emotionally trying times, our dogs and cats are a priceless source of love, joy and sense of belonging. Taking care of them becomes a priority, more than ever: this also means staying up to date with the innovations which allow us to provide them healthier and happier lives.


It is no surprise, then, that during the Covid-19 pandemic the petfood market has been constantly growing. At the beginning, this was due to that same “stockpiling effect” which we all witnessed in grocery stores, leading to a turnover of 2 billion Euros in the first eight months of 2020 in Italy. Also predictably, e-commerce spiked up to an outstanding +140%. Estimates see the sector growing all along 2021, with a forecast +4.5% in the United States for the current year.


In this scenario of constant growth, supplements certainly need to be paid attention to, as they represent an increasingly important player in the field: a testament to the pet humanization trend which has always been a key driver in shaping pet owners’ purchase choices. By looking at the United States, where the pet food supplements market is expected to grow at a 6.4% rate by 2027, it is possible to shape the landscape of the ongoing trends.


Firstly, specialization. As it happens in human food, where supplements cover specific nutritional needs (to fill gaps or as preventative interventions), likewise the purchase of pet supplements is aimed at taking care of particular issues: not only in terms of consumption occasions (e.g. probiotics for gut health given to the pet at possibly stressful moments like holidays or house moving), but also and especially in relation to precise breeds’ features: for example, bone health supplements for dogs more prone to hip dysplasia.


Even in pet supplements, moreover, the request for 100% natural and organic options is high, in line with owners’ preference for less “sophisticated” food: 77% petfood buyers want natural ingredients; 68% ask for organic supplements.


Also on the rise are choices up-to-date with the recent medical trends, again hand-in-hand with what is “hot” for humans: for example, cannabinoid-based supplements are spreading, to treat conditions which do not respond well to standard pharmacological veterinarian therapies: the expected growth of the CBD pet market in the USA shows a 40.3% rate by 2027.


On the contrary, especially as far as communication is concerned, the trend of sustainability does not seem a priority yet within pet supplements, likely because of the wide number of small players which are more focused on the functional side of their offer, rather than on the broader purpose of their brand.


Data sources: Assalco, Businesswire, Grand View Research, Packaged Facts.