Date: 25/05/2020

In recent years, there has been a big trend in society as a whole in purchasing pets. According to a survey by the Insurance Information Institute, for example, the percentage of the population that owns a pet jumped from 56% in 1988 to 67% in 2020. As a result, the relationship between pets and their owners is getting closer every day, with many owners considering them as family members.

And just as people want the best for their children, these pet parents want the best for their animals. The result is an abundance of available products and services that until recently were unknown.

Consequently, there was an increase in the demand for products intended for pets, such as more adequate food, supplies, toys, clothing, hygiene, and veterinary appointments. In addition, new services have emerged, such as hotels and even spa for animals.

Considering this, the market is proving itself promising, as it has shown big growth in the last years. In 2006, Americans spent US$ 38.5 billion on their pets. But in 2018, they have almost doubled this number, being US$ 72.6 billion. In other words, the market had basically doubled its income in just over a decade.

The largest share of sales in the domestic animal’s market is related to food. In the US in 2018, US$ 30.3 billion was spent on pet food and an increase of 4.3% was estimated until the end of 2019.

In Brazil this projection is also observed, the Brazilian Association of Pet Products Industry (Abinpet) has indicated that pet food represents 70% of total sales in this area. In fact, the sale of processed pet food increased 28.5% in the last year. That is, even with new options, the market is still on the rise.

It is worth mentioning that an adequate diet is one of the main factors that contribute to the health of animals. Therefore, the search of the owners to buy higher quality and more sophisticated food, which results in a great potential expansion of the pet market.

Pet market: growth and expansion trend

Currently, the pet market has great potential for investment. The owners’ search for more services and products for pets, provides new business opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Labor division is considering a 16% growth in the pet sector between 2018 and 2028, which is quite significant.

In some homes, there are even more pets than children.

Why does it happen?

This is related to cultural changes, taking into account that people are currently waiting longer to have children. However, there is a need for having company, so they adopt a pet.

Besides, changes are also observed in the way pets are treated, due to the closer and more sentimental relationship between animals and their owners, demonstrating an increase in the humanization of pets. With that, owners increased the demand for high-quality products and more expensive accessories.

Due to the demand, the market remains in high need and at the same time saturated when we talk about traditional options, such as pet specialized shops and veterinary clinics.

However, there is a huge space for innovative options, such as pet restaurants, humanized clothing, hotels, school, and apps to find pet caregivers. In addition to special attention to food, which involves everything from the attention in choosing the ingredients that are part of the pet food, to prioritizing foods that meet specific requirements for cats and dogs.

For comparison, 26 years ago, the total amount of expenses made by the domestic animal industry in the United States summed just US$ 17 billion. Now, it is expected that the same industry has exceeded US$ 75 billion in 2019, more than four times than in 1994. Brazil also presents this trend, where it is estimated that the pet market in 2020 will reach a turnover of R$ 20 billion.

Experts in the sector say pet owners are increasingly looking for niches that prioritize animal welfare and health. What further highlights the growth and the need to expand the pet market.

Pet food: in search of a better animal quality of life

When we talk about pet food there are several important issues regarding its owners. Is this food enough for my pet? Does it have the necessary nutrients? Is it healthy? Will it be easily digested? Is it tasty? Among other issues.

Therefore, the growing concern of pet owners for the welfare, health, and comfort of their animals, makes them more demanding in the search for adequate food for their companions.

So pet food producers seek to develop formulations that are not only tasty for animals, but that also provide a better quality of life and greater longevity for them.

In the last few years the options of pet food have increased a lot, such as “fresh”, “healthy”, “holistic”, “gourmet”, among others.

This feeding trend is related to human diets. Experts in this area indicate that pet owners are looking for the highest quality nutritious food they can find. But they are also more attracted to formulations that suit their own food preferences.

The demand for pet food regarding the popularity of animals

According to an APPA survey, 67% (or just under 85 million) of households in the U.S. own a pet. Dogs remain the most popular domestic animals (63.4%), followed by cats (42.7%), freshwater fish (11.5%), and birds (5.7%).

In Brazil, similar behaviour is observed. According to data from the multinational Worldpanel Kantar, 56.6% of Brazilian families have pets, of which 47.7% are dogs and 20.1% are cats.

Considering these data, the foods for these most popular animals are the ones with the greatest variety on the market.

Nowadays we are able to find options for organic, raw, and vegetarian foods, with sodium reduction, for obese animals, with a focus on vitamins and antioxidants, rich in protein and without common allergens.

In addition, there are different options of food sold, such as canned, dehydrated, and frozen. Also, pet owners can even receive fresh, individually made meals delivered directly to their door.

And it is not just dogs and cats that have new food options, but there are also foods for smaller animals and birds that are emerging and need more diversity in the pet nutrition market.

Ingredients for pet food

Domestic animals have very specific needs for their healthy development. At each stage of the animals’ life, different nutrient requirements are needed, such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

Because of that, pet foods are developed with specific ingredients that meet the requirements of the public, and that meet the nutritional needs of the animals.

Special care must be taken with the ingredients used in this type of formulation so that the nutrients are bioavailable and can be absorbed effectively by the animal organism.

Therefore, priority should be given to a formulation that contains quality ingredients as well as ingredients that make easy the digestibility of nutrients.

This is the case of formulations containing hydrolyzed proteins, which generates smaller chains of amino acids, the bioactive peptides. Also, it is important that they contain antioxidants and do not contain allergens.

For pet food producers, it is worth emphasizing the importance of having reliable suppliers, who follow the required quality standards. Thus, in order to select a supplier, it is necessary to observe the checklist and verify that it meets all the required aspects.


The clear and high growth of the pet market is related to behavioural changes in society.

Currently, the humanization of domestic animals makes their owners seek to provide a better quality of life for their companions. Thus, there is an increase in demand for higher quality and more sophisticated products and services for pets.

Pet food products are the ones that have the largest share of investment by pet owners, mainly because they are directly related to the health and longevity of the animals.

As a result, pet nutrition is constantly growing and developing. However, in order to invest in this area, priority must be given to innovation, nutritious ingredients, reliable suppliers, qualified services, and quality in the service provided to achieve a good position in this promising market.