The influence of humanisation on pet food continues for many different reasons. This topic will be separated into two consecutive posts on the Pet Food Knowledge Centre. The first will focus on what humanisation is and how this has influenced purchasing behaviour; in addition to what is driving the humanisation trend, the post also includes a fantastic video from our Technical Services Director, John Hewitt, who looks at why the trend of humanisation in pet food continues.
To watch the video from John providing an insight into the role of humanisation in pet food, click below.
How has humanisation influenced purchasing behaviour?
According to the Pet Food Industry, 95% of pet owners consider their pets as part of the family (Pet Food Industry,2016). Humanisation has contributed to a shift in purchasing behaviour, with owners wanting their pet’s diets to be similar to theirs but also beneficial for their health. As a result, humanisation and premiumisation have become consistent factors in the market, with people willing to pay higher prices to ensure that their pets receive the best. In many instances, premium products mirror what is happening in the human food industry. A recent study revealed that owners who fed their pets speciality foods correlated to those who had a strong bond with them.
A number of different factors are driving the humanisation of pet food. As discussed earlier, the relationship between owner and pet has developed. People may have seen their pet as simply an animal in the past. Nowadays, this is not the case, with many people seeing their pets as part of the family; terms used by owners are “pet parents” and “fur babies”.
To summarise, humanisation is a trend that will continue to influence the pet food industry. With 95% of pet owners considering their pets to be part of the family, they only want to feed the very best. In addition, people are now, more than ever, focusing on their own health and well-being and have been influenced to look for this with their pets. This has led to an increase in premium and therapeutic products for pets.
Pet food brands have turned their attention to ensuring their branding, labelling, and packaging reflect pet owners’ humanised needs. So, for example, there has been an increase in terms such as “Grain Free” and “Gluten-Free” diets, all of which replicate similar messages that humans have, such as being suitable for sensitive stomachs. There are also other factors, such as demographic and socio-economic changes, that are influencing the humanising and premiumisation of products.
Carrara, A. (2019, July 19th). UK dog food labels ‘too hard to read’, report finds. Retrieved from Pet Gazette: https://www.petgazette.biz/25034-pets-at-home-invests-in-dog-walking-and-pet-sitting-service/
Forbes, S. L., Trafford, S., & Surie, M. (2018). Pet Humanisation: What is it and Does it Influence Purchasing Behaviour? Dairy and Vet Sci J, 2.
Industry, P. F. (2016, March 9th). Report: 95% say pets are part of the family. Retrieved from Pet Food Industry: https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/5695-report—say-pets-are-part-of-the-family
International, E. (2021). Trends Shaping the Future of the Food and Nutrition Industry. Passport.
Article written by Matthew Aiken