Should You Add Frozen Pet Food to Your Product Assortment?
Today’s consumers are on a constant hunt for new and healthier ways to extend the life of their furry loved ones. As a result, the pet food industry must try to keep up by providing safe yet innovative products. As pet diets continue to evolve to more closely resemble that of their owners, the raw and frozen pet food category in particular continues to expand.
Over the years, raw, frozen pet foods have been a major point of contention within the industry. While some experts tell us that these diets can prove detrimental to pet health, consumers seem to love them. Nevertheless, the frozen pet food category continues to churn out rather impressive statistics.
By the numbers
- Frozen pet food sales jumped from $36 million in 2011 to a whopping $97 million only five years later.
- In 2011, only 38 percent of retailers had a freezer installed, with the average number of frozen pet food items carried per store being 11.3. In 2014, the number of retailers with freezers nearly doubled to 58 percent, while the average number of frozen items carried grew to 13.4.
- Over the past year, frozen pet food sales have averaged at about $1,050 per store, per month. That number has since grown by about 10 percent, up to $1,160.
What the experts say
While this category of pet food shows no signs of slowing down just yet, it’s not without its issues. The FDA calls the raw pet food diet “dangerous,” not only to the health of pets but consumers as well. With raw pet food being extremely susceptible to Salmonella and other contaminates, 2015 saw many recalls of commercial frozen pet food items.
This, in turn, has caused quite a scare amongst manufacturers, as we see a significant drop in innovation in this category. In the last year or so, frozen pet food only accounted for 1.8 percent of all new products launched – compared to the 3.5 to 5.5 percent we’ve seen previously.
Why are frozen pet foods flying off the shelves despite a stalling innovation rate and warnings from the FDA?
For pet owners, the answer is easy: raw food diets promise shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels and smaller stools. Despite the fact that raw pet food diets can cost upwards of $5 per day (compared to the $1 a day a premium, commercial dry dog food costs), consumers are still gravitating towards frozen pet food.
For pet brands however, finding that balance between delivering a product the customer (or rather their pet) craves while helping to keep the health of their pet intact will prove to be much trickier. It’s tough to say whether expanding your product assortment as a brand or as a retailer to include frozen pet foods is the right choice for your business. One thing that certainly isn’t up for debate, is that companies delving into this category will have to put safety above all for the sake of everyone involved, man or beast.
Looking for a great frozen pet food brand to add to your assortment? Check out Vital Essentials below!