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Title: Pet Food in the U.S.: Riding the Premium Wave
Published: September 2006
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The following is the abstract from the full report:
The U.S. pet food market is experiencing healthy growth as marketers continue to convert pet owners to better quality, higher priced, more upscale fare. Premium pet foods cover all bases—natural/organic, fortified/functional, weight control, lifestage, breed-/size-specific, gourmet, etc.—and are increasingly being positioned not just as human style but as human grade. As a result, much of the growth is occurring at the upper-income tier of the pet owner spectrum, with U.S. households earning $70,000 or more now accounting for an impressive 44% of the aggregate pet food expenditure—up from just 15% in 1994.
Top marketers including Nestlé Purina, Mars, Iams, Hill’s, Nutro, and S&M NuTec clearly have their fingers on the emotional pulse of American pet owners, as well as some very big advertising guns. During 2005, they spent nearly $300 million on national advertising for pet food, virtually all of it encouraging the deep attachment Americans feel for their pets, while also launching the biggest surge of new products in the history of the market. The high level of interest in all things pet has also spurred a number of high-profile acquisitions, including Mars’ recent purchase of S&M NuTec (Greenies) and private-label producer Doane, Del Monte’s purchase of Milk-Bone and Meow Mix, Bain Capital’s purchase of Nutro, and Central Garden & Pet’s purchase of Breeder’s Choice.
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