What are you going to do today to pamper your little friend(s)?
I have written several posts about pet ownership. A quick review of the American Pets Products Association website confirmed that the pet industry continues to flourish. Ownership statistics gathered in APPA’s latest survey indicated the number of U.S. households that now own a pet is 72.9 million compared to 71.4 million when I posted Pets USA Revisited (July, 2010). Currently almost half of American households own a dog; an estimated 4 in 10 households own a cat. Back in 2010, I reported U.S. Pet Industry expenditures at $47.7 billion; estimated expenditures for 2011 were $50.8 billion, an increase of 6.6 percent.
Food is number one in pet expenditures. Retail sales were estimated at $19.5 billion in 2011. The basic annual food expenses for dogs and cats are $254 and $220 respectively. These numbers will continue to exhibit robust growth thanks to the increase in affluent pet owners and aging pets. The APPA reported in their survey that approximately 40 percent of cats and dogs were older than 6 years. Consequently, a new category in pet foods is emerging – super premium products. Marketers from pet food companies are targeting health conscious, label scrutinizing consumers who are willing to spend more on feeding their pets. They call these consumers “Pet Parents.” These luxury pet food items now comprise 5 percent of the market. Market leader Nestlé Purina recently introduced a product line for cats labeled Elegant Medleys with flavors like White Meat Chicken Primavera and Yellowfin Tuna Tuscany. For dogs they introduced a line titled Chef Michael’s Canine Creations with flavors like Beef Short Rib. Niche companies are also jumping into the premium pet food market. One company that piques my interest is Blue Buffalo with their line of chef inspired bistro meals like Beef Bourguignon for cats and antioxidant, nutrient rich Blue Longevity™ for dogs.
So tonight, are you going to order in some pizza or are you going to get down on the floor and enjoy a candlelight gourmet dinner with your little friend(s)?