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Premium pet food sustains category

BY Barbara White-Sax

Volume sales of pet foods have been flat, but a rash of premium brands have kept the category profitable for retailers. Dog owners spend an average of $239 annually, and cat owners spend $209 annually on pet food, according to American Pet Products Association.

While consumers are price sensitive, they won’t cut corners when it comes to what they feed their pets. A recent report by Mintel found that healthy eating trends are driving innovation and marketing strategies in the pet food market. The trend also is driven by the soaring obesity rates among cats and dogs.

“Manufacturers are specializing pet food to life stage, diet needs, health needs and beyond. Products with a natural, organic and health positioning continue to show the greatest growth,” said Mintel’s report.

Hill’s reformulated Science Diet, Nestlé Purina’s Purina One Beyond and Del Monte’s acquired Natural Balance all bear out that trend.

Private label’s share of the pet food market was 12.6% in 2012 product, down one percentage point. Walmart’s Pure Balance natural product is making inroads since the product is positioned in the growing healthier premium segment of the market.

Packaged Facts’ recent Pet Owner Survey found that 38% of pet owners believe that natural/organic brand pet products are better than standard national brand products, and 63% said they are very concerned about the safety of the pet products they buy.

As a result, U.S. retail sales of natural pet products totaled $4.1 billion in 2012, according to Packaged Facts estimates, representing a compound annual growth rate of 17% over the 2008-2012 period.

Dry pet foods are gaining market share as wet and moist pet foods are falling out of favor. A study soon to be published from the Global Market Development Center, or GMDC, in conjunction with Radian and Nielsen, found that dry dog food ranks second in terms of category dollar share in the drug channel. The drug pet food segment showed a 7% gain in dollar sales last year, according to the GMDC study.

While the drug channel commands only a 1% dollar market share of the pet food business, Mintel’s research shows the channel saw sales advance a significant 11.5% from 2010-2012. Dog treats command the largest share of sales in the drug channel, but that segment had a sales slide of 5% last year, according to GMDC.

Destination sets need to include healthy pet food choices. Drug store retailers in particular have an opportunity to tie in those better-for-your-pet choices with their overall health-and-wellness positioning.

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Special K launches new low-calorie, vitamin-enriched breakfast shake

BY Jason Owen

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg Co. brand Special K announced on Wednesday a new breakfast shake packed with vitamins and minerals, low in calories and offering the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee.

Special K Coffee House Breakfast shakes are a convenient option for choosing breakfast on-the-go containing less than 200 calories per serving, the company stated. Each shake also provides 10 g of protein, 5 g of fiber, nearly one-third of the recommended daily value of key vitamins and minerals women do not get enough of and the same amount of caffeine as a 5.5-oz. cup of coffee.

"Women deserve more from their on-the-go breakfast options," said Noel Geoffroy, VP marketing for Kellogg Morning Foods. "With our new shakes, there is no need to compromise on nutrition or taste."

According to the Kellogg Co., data shows women weight managers often do not get enough of the daily recommended nutrients such as vitamin A, C, D, E, calcium and folic acid.

Coffee House Breakfast shakes are available in chocolate mocha and vanilla cappuccino flavors. They come in packs of four 10-oz. resealable bottles and can be found at Walmart and other select retailers in the breakfast aisle.


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FDA exceeds FY2013 GDUFA hiring goals

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRINGS, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has exceeded its goals for hiring new staff as part of a user-fee law for generic drugs, according to an internal memo sent to staff members.

In a memo to staff of the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, center director Janet Woodcock wrote that for fiscal year 2013, the FDA hired 234 people as part of the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments Human Capital Team. The goal was to hire 231 as part of a three-year push in which it hopes to hire 921, including 461 during fiscal year 2014.

"I am extremely happy with this accomplishment," Woodcock wrote. "As hiring continues through the end of this fiscal year, planning has already begun for next fiscal year."

The amendments, known as GDUFA, were passed last year as part of the renewal of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. The agency is using money raised from generic drug company user fees to reduce its backlog of generic drug approval applications.

 

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