As dog owners become more aware of what is in their dog food, they have begun searching for the healthiest dog food available. As a result, dog food manufacturers have started to look for more innovative ways to make dog food with a more complete nutritional profile. These have lead to several upcoming trends in dog food. Here are eight of the trends you will see coming soon to pet food retailers.
Grain-Free Dog Food
Grain-free food is currently all the rage in dog foods. As people become more aware of sensitivities in themselves like gluten intolerance, they are also considering what these grains are doing to our animal friends. Grain-free foods make up the majority of the natural, organic, and holistic sectors of the dog food market and have an astounding growth rate. With dogs responding so well to grain-free diets, it is likely that grain-free dog food is only going to become more popular in the future.
New Sources Of Protein
As consumers are becoming aware of the lack of nutritional value of the byproducts and fillers found in dog foods, they are demanding dog foods that have higher quality ingredients. One of the key ingredients pet food manufacturers are looking to improve is protein. Consumers have rejected animal byproducts and meals, they are looking to supplement these proteins with healthier sources of ingredients. Some of those ingredients are plant-based coming from sources like the leafy greens kale, chard, greens, cress, and duckweed. While other manufacturers are looking at sources for higher quality meats like deboned chicken. Ultimately, dog food manufacturers are using more diverse proteins that have a higher nutritional value and are easier for your dog to digest.
While searching for higher quality sources of protein to make up for the rejection of both grains and meat by-products, many dog food manufacturers have to turned to locally sourced game meats. Meats like deer, rabbit, boar, pheasant, and even wild-caught fish, all have starts to appear in dog foods. These meats help dog manufacturers meet the demands of dog food consumers while potentially being more healthy for our dogs than livestock meats. Game meats also help dog food manufacturers reduce the cost of protein sources and increase the sustainability of their production, because they are sourcing a lot of these meats locally. It is likely that game meat dog foods will continue to see growth.
Dehydrated Dry Food
Consumers are also demanding that their dog foods are less processed, so that the nutritional value of the food stays intact. So manufacturers have been looking for new ways to process dry dog food so it can keep its integrity. One of the most popular ways is through dehydration. In fact, dehydrated dog food is so popular, it has seen a 72% growth over the last year. At the rate it is growing, dehydrated dog food is likely to dominate the market in the future.
Freeze-Dried Dry Food
Another processing technique gaining popularity among dog food consumers is freeze-dried dog food. The healthiest dog food manufacturers use this technique to quickly preserve all the nutrients into the food. Freeze-dried dog food saw a growth of 63% last year and so it is likely more dog food manufacturers will implement this processing technique.
Better Labeling And Oversight
As dog food consumers look for more healthy alternatives, they have been demanding better product labeling. Right now dog food labels are not as thorough as the food labels on human food. They tend to only have an ingredients list and a nutrition panel. Dog food consumers want better labeling so they know what nutrients their dogs are receiving. Also with the growth of natural, organic, and holistic dog foods, consumers want more oversight of these claims. If a dog food is labeled “organic” they want to know that food is certified organic and not just a false claim made by the manufacturer to increase the price of the food. So as the healthy trends continue in dog foods, there will also be more comprehensive labeling on packages in the future.
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Targeted Dog Foods
Pet owners are also looking to dog foods for the general health and well-being of their dogs. This is especially true with pet owners who have dogs with illnesses, allergies, or any other special need. Dog food manufacturers are responding to these needs and creating more dog foods that are targeted to help with specific health foods. Dog food formulas that support things like joint health, digestion, or are hypoallergenic are gaining traction in the dog food market. Pet owners want foods to do more than just feed their dogs and so manufacturers have responded. So one of the most popular emerging trends is targeted dog foods.
Sustainable Food Sources
Finally, one of the most popular trends in dog food is they are made with ingredients from sustainable sources. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, so they want all of their products, including their dog foods to use environmentally sound, sustainable practices. Manufacturers are also looking to more sustainable methods as the cost of the old mechanisms of production and sourcing have increased. Both of these factors is leading dog food manufacturers to switch to more sustainable manufacturing processes.
All of these trends point to a larger driver in the dog food market. Dog food consumers want healthier, more nutritionally dense, and environmentally-friendly dog foods. So emerging dog food trends are likely to adapt to these demands. Besides these trends, consumers can expect new manufacturing techniques, more nutritional research behind the recipes, and more oversight and transparency on the claims. So we can expect healthier, higher quality food to dominant the future dog food market.