Progressive Grocer

AUG 2015

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108 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | August 2015 I f you're wondering how big the much-touted "pet humanization" trend has become, an article in the June 17 Examiner.com ofers some insight. According to the story, "Dogs will now be able to accompany their owners to restau- rants (providing outdoor service) in New York, thanks to a new law that sailed through the state assembly." Similar laws are already on the books in California, Florida and Maryland. If people are taking their dogs out to dine, imag- ine what they're buying when they shop for their furry, feathered or scaly family members. Industry data shows it's a good time to be in the pet product business. According to the Greenwich, Conn.-based American Pet Products Association (APPA), overall spending in the pet industry ex- ceeded $58 billion in 2014. Te APPA predicts that 2015 will be even better. "Te pet industry continues to outpace most other retail segments, and for 2015 we are project- ing to surpass the $60 billion mark, which dem- onstrates the strength and vitality of this industry," says Bob Vetere, APPA presi- dent and CEO. Paul Cooke, VP/director industry devel- opment at St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., says consumers' love afair with their animals is helping drive sales. "Over the past several years, we've seen this growing trend towards more people treating their pets as members of the fam- ily," Cooke says. "I think the humanization trend has contributed to strong sales across the entire pet industry in recent years." Focus on Food Te food category is benefting most from this "pets as people" trend. In fact, it's the leading source of dollars spent within the industry, the APPA notes. "As pets are increasingly consid- ered members of the family for many Americans, standards for pet food, including treats — the fastest-growing segment in the pet food category — are on the rise," says the Mintel report "Pet Food-U.S.-May 2015." And dog and cat food aren't the only products feeling the love. "Te humanization of pets by their owners is probably the most important driving factor for pet food purchases, and has been an ongoing trend for many years," observes Cecil Campbell, VP of sales and marketing for Sinking Spring, Pa.-based F.M. Brown's Sons Inc. "Originally, this was primarily the case for cat and dog food, but it has expanded well into the pet bird and small-animal categories. Even wild-bird feeding enthusiasts refer to their backyard birds as pets." A Growth Opportunity for Grocery Consumers' continuing perception of pets as family members will not only continue; it will also drive price increases in the pet food category, according to Amy Kraushaar, U.S. category manager/food & Pets are People, Too Domesticated animals' "parents" treat them like family. By Kathleen Furore o i d o P w t t i l t t F T f i Even wild- bird feeding enthusiasts refer to their backyard birds as pets." —Cecil Campbell, F.M. Brown's Sons Inc.

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