Read an article on NielsenIQ: “More than $175 billion is spent annually in the US on health and wellness products, proving that health and wellness is no longer a channel but a lifestyle.” “As a result, pet parents are beginning to treat the pet as another family member, and to make purchasing decisions for their pets that align with their own personal purchasing decisions.”
I would argue that pet owners started treating their pets as family members long before the pandemic, but I agree with the author of the article (unnamed) that as pandemic lockdowns have resulted in owners spending more time at home with their pets, animal health and wellness is becoming more important.
Popular pet food categories, search terms
In addition, the years of the pandemic have accelerated many of the pet food trends and areas of growth that were marching before – which includes those associated with human food trends. According to NielsenIQ, it also translates to terms pet owners use when searching for pet food.
For example, trends in popular human foods such as plant foods and high protein are emerging among pet food searches. From December 2020 to January 2022, search terms related to plant-based pet foods ranked 58The tenth Among the most searched-for terms in a tracking product called NielsenIQ is Label Insight Trending Attributes. Likewise, High Protein ranked 54The tenth. “In years past, these terms never really cracked the top 100” for pet foods, the article says.
Raw was another top-ranked search term for pet food, coming in at 43research and development, having also not appeared in the Top 100 previously. For the related pet food format, refrigerated pet food, search terms have increased 61% since March 21, despite the fact that the subcategory comprises only 16% of total pet food products, according to NielsenIQ data.
However, as has been the case since before the pandemic, raw, frozen and refrigerated pet foods continue to grow since 2020: 36% for frozen and 70.3% for refrigerated since 2020 in terms of number of products. “We expect these trends to continue to take shape in the coming years as brands such as FreshPet and Tylee are now conveniently distributed by e-commerce retailer Chewy,” says the NielsenIQ article.
Pet owners are looking for products to treat conditions
With functional ingredients in pet foods and other pet products, NielsenIQ claims that the growing interest among pet owners does not appear as specific searches; Instead, owners search using terms “at the descriptive category level to combat the disease they seek to treat.” An example is “calming” pet products versus specific ingredients like CBD and chamomile: Calming searches have increased 42% since March 2021, while there has been no noticeable change for CBD or chamomile.
Searches for descriptive, condition-related traits or similar components, which are on the rise among pet owners — all seeing double-digit growth since March 2021 — include dental health, breathing, sensitive stomach, and human grade.