Global survey reveals pet owners consider digestive health key for achieving holistic health and wellbeing
New research resultsi show that despite inflation and price increases on pet food, owners continue to want the best for their pets. As a result, delivering added value such as nutritional, health or sustainability benefits is key to retaining consumer interest in times of tighter budgets. This new global survey has been conducted by the market research agency FMCG Gurus, on behalf of BENEO, with 2,500 dog and cat owners in the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, and China.
Price versus value
The research demonstrates that even though almost 9 in 10 surveyed pet owners feel that pet food prices have risen in the last year, only 1 in 6 pet parents globally has turned to cheaper products or brands as a result. Most are staying loyal to their brand of choice by taking greater advantage of promotional offers or bigger packs. In fact, price is considered less important when buying pet food compared to ingredient quality, nutritional value, taste and health claims. And over half of respondents are even willing to pay a price premium for pet food with health-promoting ingredients that have been scientifically proven.
Pet parents are very concerned about their pet’s health and the survey results reflect this, with more than 4 in 5 owners considering their pet’s health to be as important as their own. The link between their pet’s digestive health and overall health is also more widely recognised by pet owners, with over 3 in 4 cat and dog owners understanding that the digestive system has a positive influence on many aspects beyond the gut, such as bone condition, mental and physical wellbeing and the immune system. It is not surprising therefore that the on-pack claims most likely to influence purchasing of pet food products include “promotes digestive health naturally” and “easy-to-digest”.
Natural support for digestive health
Most pet owners opt for a proactive and natural approach to nurturing their pet’s digestive health, with more than 1 in 3 saying that they feed their pets food that features claims to support digestive health, showing the importance of highlighting specific benefits on pack. The digestive health claims with the biggest effect on pet owners’ purchase interests are: “digestive comfort and well-being”, “promotes digestive health naturally” and “supports a healthy and balanced digestive system”. In addition, almost half of pet owners associate prebiotics with gut health, making this a key ingredient in pet food manufacturers’ toolbox.
Demand for proteins and sustainable credentials
The survey also reveals that protein quality and content are important for 7 in 10 respondentsii. Additionally, sustainability claims are considered to some extent by 4 in 5 owners when choosing food for their petsiii. With more than half of cat and dog owners considering plant-based proteins to be better for the environment, it is no surprise that vegetal ingredient sources with sustainability credentials are of increasing relevance. For instance, more than 80% of pet owners associate faba beans with being sustainable. Natural and high-quality vegetal proteins are therefore a valuable resource for manufacturers, allowing them to cater to pet owners’ interests, whilst formulating nutritious pet food recipes.
Dr Maygane Ronsmans, Product Manager Animal Nutrition at BENEO says: “The findings of this latest pet owner survey highlight that even in times of inflation, nutritional value and health remain a priority for pet food purchasers. Scientifically proven prebiotics like BENEO’s Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose from chicory root, are proving popular with pet food producers as they naturally support digestive health, whilst allowing for appealing on-pack communication. Also, with pet owners more attentive to sustainability, BENEO’s vegetal proteins, derived from faba bean, wheat or rice, are valuable assets in pet food producers’ toolboxes. Thanks to a versatile range of plant-based ingredients with technical, nutritional and health-promoting benefits, as well as longstanding expertise in healthy nutrition, BENEO is well equipped to help manufacturers bring to market innovative and relevant pet food products that meet consumer demand, even in a tough economic climate.”
i BENEO Consumer Research On Pet Care 2023. FMCG Gurus conducted a quantitative online survey in August 2023 with 2.500 pet owners in the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, and China (250 cat and 250 dog owners per country).
ii BENEO Consumer Research On Pet Care 2023. Question: How important is protein quality and content in food products for your cat/dog? Number refers to respondents with the answers “very important” and “important”
iii BENEO Consumer Research On Pet Care 2023. Question: What attributes are important for you when choosing food for your cat/dog? Sustainability claim – Number refers to respondents with the answers “very important” and “somewhat important”