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Reimagining pet food refrigeration

Pet ownership is on the rise and customer spend on pet food is the highest it has been at any time in history.

In its latest annual report about the pet population and the pet food market in Europe, FEDIAF EuropeanPetFood, the voice of the European pet food industry, confirms the growing trend in pet ownership, finding that 90 million European households now own companion animals, that’s 46% of the human population. Over 50% of these are cats and dogs, which remain the most popular pet choices in Europe.
The result of this increase in pet ownership is a spend of over 20 billion EUR in pet related services and products.

From its annual survey of the UK pet population, the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association, also estimated that in 2022, 17.4m of UK households have pets. That’s 62% of householders with an extra family member. Of these, approximately 65% are dogs and cats.

Pet food purchasing power

Coupled with the trend in increased pet ownership the pet food industry also saw a growth of 3.1% in 2021 and is now worth an estimated by FEDIAF EuropeanPetFood to be 27.7 billion EUR.

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association also estimates that people living in the UK spend around 3.2 billion pounds on pet food annually, with this number is steadily increasing year after year.

Apparently, one in 10 Britons spend more on their pet food than their own household food and over 49% of UK households consider their pets to be an extra member of the family rising to 80% in the US), which is pretty phenomenal when you think about it. However, this doting on domestic animals, does open up a world of potential for pet food as an expanded category in retail and subsequently refrigeration.

Whole lot like human food

Fresh and healthy food for pets is becoming increasingly popular as a go to for pet owners. Food that is closer to its natural state, that’s delicious to eat and makes it easier for pets to digest vital nutrients is ideal for responsible pet owners wanting to dish up a balanced diet.

Suppliers like Freshpet, The Farmers Dog, Ollie and Nom Nom are just some of the suppliers gaining traction through providing ‘human grade’, fresh, organic pet foods. Many operate direct “home delivery” services, but are also popping up in supermarket aisles and retail stores as the brands grow.

These organisations are responding to demand and providing fresh, whole ingredients, gently cooked without preservatives, as well as promoting a host of health benefits.

“The big difference for retailers is that this new wave of ‘fresh’ pet food requires refrigeration, like our food does. This isn’t something that stores have had to accommodate in the past, pet food aisles just being regular shelving” says Yannick Besson, Regional Sales Manager at True Refrigeration.

Health benefits of fresh pet food

Similar to human diets, a balance of healthy and nutritious food has many benefits for cats and dogs. Owners report increased energy, healthier weight or reduced weight gain and improved digestion. In many cases fresh pet food leads to providing allergy relief and, over time, supports softer skin and a shinier coat.

For many pet owners, fresh pet food also gives them peace of mind, as they know exactly what they are feeding their animals. They are guaranteeing high quality, nutrient rich ingredients which are more digestible and right for individual pet’s needs.

“Retail operators we work with are constantly refreshing their product offering to match demand, but do sometimes struggle adapting their store layout where they have fixed refrigerated aisles. This is where True’s plug-in cooler units can help. If you need a standalone fridge positioned in the pet food aisle, we can do that.” comments Yannick Besson.

“True’s Visual Merchandiser (TMV) products are a highly energy efficient refrigerated display cabinet ideal for all food retail. Featuring a brandable sign panel, LED lighting and adjustable cantilever shelving, they a great option for adding additional in-aisle refrigerated product capacity”

Feeding our furry friends

The range of pet foods, like human foods, is forever expanding with new flavours, nutrients, healthier manufacturing processes and recipes for overall improved well-being of our best four-legged friends.

Research from Pet Keen suggests that in the US households with income over $70,000 per year has increased spend over 25% since the pandemic.

Pet Food Industry.com identifies five trends that are shaping for the pet food industry in 2022. Among them are sustainability, changes in buying habits, functional and natural ingredients and above all, premiumisation and humanisation. As important members of the family, why wouldn’t you want to give your dog or cat the very best bites?

“All the research suggests owners do currently, and will continue to in future, spend a considerable amount of their income on their pets. Retailers shouldn’t just be looking at “value” offerings but more premium products as well. The retail margin opportunities for fresh pet food are great.” Concludes Yannick Besson.

How can True support you with your fresh pet food offer?

For more information about on how True can help you deliver quality and freshness for your fresh pet food, view Glass Door Displays or contact the True team discuss your requirement.

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