Consumers are sparing no expense in their pet food purchases these days, and it seems the trend toward more expensive pet diets is here to stay. According to Packaged Facts, a market research company, sales of 'natural' pet foods will surpass overall pet food sales within five years.
Pet owners are making the switch to more wholesome foods for their companions for a variety of reasons, including:
- Recent pet food recalls for contamination issues
- Allergic or aging pets with special dietary requirements
- Trends in human diets like the move to more natural, organic foods
According to Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association:
"If there's a trend in human food and supplements, you'll see it on the pet food aisle. Gluten-free, vitamin supplemented, breed-specific, senior formulas — all of these have taken over the pet marketplace, and we're seeing the competition increasing."
However, experts warn there is no guarantee specialty pet food formulas can't also be contaminated.
For consumers looking for independent advice on which pet food brands might be safest, according to PetfoodIndustry.com, "Greenopia, an online directory that educates consumers on sustainable purchasing, updated its independent "green" ratings of nearly 30 petfood brands sold in the United States."
Greenopia rated pet food brands by specific criteria, including:
- Sustainability reporting
- Supply chain
- Animal testing policies
Dr. Nancy Scanlan of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), thinks pet owners may want to experiment with different formulas to find the right food for their pet. She encourages pet owners to talk to their vet about dietary requirements, read pet food ingredient labels, and research peer-reviewed journals.