Humanization: Great for the pet food industry, great for our pets, and great for us!

Robin Irvine
By: Robin Irvine
Date: July 09, 2019

Pets Are FamilyThe pet industry is going through an explosive period of growth, ignited by the changing view of the dynamics of pet ownership. As pets continue to hold higher ranks in family dynamics and human hearts, pet owners want to provide for their pets in a more humanized way, including the toys they play with, the fashion they wear, but most importantly, the food their furry friends eat. Let’s explore these changes.

By the Numbers

The pet humanization movement comes about as millennials and gen-Z’ers are making the move into adulthood and settling down. Younger people are now more likely to own a pet before having children, with these pets filling the role that a human child might hold. Pets create a positive environment and comfort for an owner, therefore owners want to cherish their pet for as long as possible. And why do these new pet owners outweigh the expectations of yesterday? Baby boomers only account for one-third of pet owning homes in the United States. An estimated 80 million European households own at least one animal. At least 24 percent own one dog and at least 25 percent own one cat. Over the last 30 years, pet ownership has risen 12 percent, and these pets need to eat.

Fresh for Fido

With the new view of pets in the home, owners’ product expectations have elevated as well. The pet food industry has recently created a boom in the U.S. economy, mainly in gourmet and premium brand sales. Europe is considered as one of the leaders in the industry, generating around 30 percent of the total pet food and pet care sales, worldwide. The field of nutrition is constantly evolving and pet food owners want fresh, organic foods for their pets, along with clear, honest ingredients. The industry expectation is 100 percent traceability, along with more mindful and healthy products. For numerous pet food manufacturers, whether producing wet, dry, snack, treats or raw food, this means investing in the right product management software to allow for recipe and cost optimization and regulatory compliance, with quicker time to market, for the benefit of pet owners and control authorities.

Owners’ mindset is to give their pet the chance to live a long and healthy life just like them, and if a brand can’t prove that easily, consumers will purchase elsewhere.

Always Available

Speaking of purchasing elsewhere, online shopping has created new opportunities for pet food manufacturers that can meet the growing demand for pet food made with the highest quality ingredients. Shopping online or mobile allows owners to research brands at their own pace, customize, and automate orders all with the comfort of home delivery. In 2017, online sales aided a 92.2% growth rate in dog food sales and a 63.3% in cat food sales.

Change in the industry will continue to shift and manufacturers need to be prepared with technology that can scale with them. Pet food manufacturers with older ERP systems may lack modern functionality necessary to keep up with demand. Cloud-based ERP gives manufacturers the ability to expand their system as needed, with lower overhead costs and industry-specific capabilities.

Pet food nutrition, processing, and safety are complex and sophisticated, and not understood by many vendors. Manufacturers need software applications that can keep up with all the industry changes and updates to an industry that is rapidly evolving. Owners want only the finest for their beloved family, and pet food manufacturers need to invest in the best technology to meet those needs.

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