When does pet food start to create its own trends?
In an interesting blog Henriette Bylling of Aller Petfood raised a challenging question:
“Should pet food development be led by human food trends?”
Probably 10 years ago the pet food industry embarked on a boat of so-called trends. Humanisation and premiumisation. Did these trends originate out of pet owner desires or were they rather instigated by our industry itself? I think the latter is the case and the self-fulfilling prophecy materialised; as it still does. The boat is still sailing and nobody has ever challenged its course. Or maybe thought about the consequences. Humanisation&premiumisation (can we think of another word for this?) led us on the road to follow trends in human food. After all, we need(ed) a human benchmark for humanisation. Mostly as far as ingredients are concerned. Surely not regarding the variety of technologies used, let alone shelflife. In human food product-shelflives tend to go down whereas for pet food they tend to go up!
Pet food product-development seems to have gone in the direction of “how can we stand out” instead of what do we have available (nearby) to produce an adequate and healthy product. I wonder if we can continue on the “standing out” path. With a growing world-population – and part of it more affluent – the demand concerning ingredients to satisfy human food trends (more mouths will embrace these trends) will be such that the world can not supply enough of the same ingredients to satisfy the demand for “humanised” pet food as well. Or the ingredients will become price-prohibitive for use in pet food. But, eventually our industry will come to its senses; and will understand that the sky isn’t the limit anymore.