Why pet food manufacturing is big in the UK
A big spike in pet ownership over the past two or three years largely due to the covid-19 pandemic, what was already a solid and consistently growing market in the UK, has been taken up a level. Despite the pandemic surge, Britons have always been a nation of pet lovers with 34% of households having a dog, 28% owning a cat, and the average number of households with pets of any kind reaching 17.4m (62% of households), according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA).
As a result, it’s no surprise that pet food manufacturing is big business. The UK market currently amounts to £3.3 billion this year, made up of £1.59 billion for dogs and £1.27 billion for cats.
About pet food production
Over the years there has been a gradual increase in pet food sales, reflective of the growing pet population, the increasing use of pet food as part of the overall diet, a broader range of complete and balanced diets and the benefits and value for money offered by pet food.
The PFMA notes in its research that prepared pet foods have become more sophisticated, with pet owners not just thinking about the nutrients their pets need from their diets, but actually seeking out pet foods that will enhance the health and wellbeing of their companions and extra beneficial ingredients.
As pets take on a more important role in families across the country, pet owners are ‘humanising their pets’ diets and looking for premium ingredients in line with their own focus on health and wellbeing. When you consider how many new owners there are who have got a pet in the past two years, this trend has never been higher, with personalised subscriptions and life stage nutrition being just two of the influencing factors on the pet food processing market.
In addition, even with rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis likely to take their toll on pet owners’ choice for their animals, the total UK dog and cat food industry is still predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of 4.5% from 2022 to 2025, meaning it will be worth more than £4.75 billion by the middle of the decade. Again, this is not surprising to see as when it comes to per capita spend in pets, Britain is second in the world (the US taking the top spot) at $93 per capita in 2019.
Why is pet food manufacturing big in the UK?
As we have seen, the surge in pet food production comes from increased demand on the industry from doting pet owners. Known as ‘pet humanisation’, pets are treated with much more care and hygiene today than they ever have been in the past, pushing consumer demand for higher quality food products.
Some of the most common features and benefits labelled on these products include grain-free, gluten-free, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, as well as the percentage of meat in the food. These features reflect demands for healthier products that are made up of natural ingredients and not artificial additives that don’t add any nutritional benefits to their furry friends.
This in turn, influences how food is made on the pet food production line, with more pet food companies adapting to using as healthy ingredients in their products as possible to keep up with market trends.
Animals like dogs and cats are more than just pets to the owners of today, they’re part of the family, and their health needs are considered to be just as important as the human family members. This in turn has allowed the industry of wet and dry pet food manufacturing grow and become a key part of UK business. We love our pets, and we want to buy pet food from companies who care about our pets’ health as much as we do.
If you need help becoming more efficient with your pet food manufacturing processes, our team of experienced consultants at FESS can help. Contact us today if you have any questions or simply book a free site survey online to get started.