People have been keeping pets for a very long time, and throughout the ages pets have typically been fed table scraps or other leftovers from their owners’ meals. It wasn’t until much more recently that specially prepared commercial pet foods were developed to make sure our furry friends were consistently eating healthy food. In the past few decades, however, the market for pet food has grown considerably, and in many ways the pet food products being developed have reflected the meals of their human counterparts. In 2024, this connection between human food and pet food trends will continue to grow closer.
Proactive for Health
Traditionally, pet owners have mostly only thought about their pet’s health if symptoms of a problem started to emerge. Yet just as a focus on overall health and wellbeing has impacted food choices for humans, it is also starting to become more important for pets. Rather than just generally “healthy” pet food, owners in 2024 and beyond will be looking for food options with functional ingredients that are meant to proactively improve their pets’ health. Blueberries, for instance, have long been recognized as good for humans, but they can also be used to add antioxidants and other important nutrients to food products.
Ongoing market research has shown that pet owners who are actively trying to improve their health through food choices are likely to have a similar concern for their pet’s health. This has also led to an uptick in the use of dietary supplements for pets. Such supplements can come in the form of treats and snacks or liquids and powders that can be added to regular meals. And the choices of supplements can address a wide range of aspects of health, from digestion and heart function to cleaner teeth and healthier fur.
As the desire for plant-based food products and ingredients continues to grow in human food spaces, pet food manufacturers are taking the cue. And while vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes have been used in pet food for some time, there is a new drive to use various types of mushrooms. Mushrooms in general are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, and they are believed to have a positive impact on health. Examples of mushrooms that pets can eat include shiitake, portobello, and champignons.
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly
As news of climate change continues to be a major issue of concern to people around the world, the desire for sustainably produced food products has never been higher. Pet owners are therefore even more likely to be motivated to purchase food and snacks for their pets that are friendly to the environment. While alternative proteins like insects have a lot of potential for improving sustainability, plant-based ingredients are becoming increasingly common in pet food. Vegetables like peas, lentils, and soybeans are just a few examples of the kinds of ingredients that have a low impact on the environment while also providing important vitamins and minerals.
Premium Quality for Cats
Until more recently, pet food innovations have primarily been targeted at dog owners while cat food remained the same. In 2024, consumers can expect to see a greater emphasis on premium and health-related food products specifically designed for cats. One expected trend is an increase in the number of wet food options rather than traditional dry kibble. And although cats don’t necessarily require vegetables as obligate carnivores, ingredients like spinach, broccoli, and zucchini can add additional nutrients and a different texture and flavor profile that appeal to cats.
Improved Consumer Messaging
Whether it’s about pet food or just about any other topic under the sun, there is a high chance of information overload when consumers go searching for new products. This is clearly seen in human food spaces where debates rage about the healthiest foods, but it also plays a part in the context of pet food. Consumers can easily feel overwhelmed by trying to sort through all the information on food labels, but pet food products that have straightforward messaging about the health content of their products and the sustainability of their production processes are poised to be more popular in 2024.
Contact Silva Today
As more people consider their pets to be members of the family, the market for new and innovative pet food products will only continue to grow and evolve. And just like with human food, the difference in quality almost always comes down to the individual ingredients. At Silva, we are passionate about providing premium dehydrated ingredients that are good for pets and good for your business. To find out more about how we can partner with you and help you deliver high quality end products for your customers, contact us today to speak with a member of our team.