In 2021, there was a 3.1% growth in the pet food industry in Europe, with sales reaching 27.7 billion euros. The petfood market continues to be promising, particularly as it mirrors human nutrition. Similar trends exist in both markets, allowing nutraceuticals to gradually capture the animal nutrition and health market.
Anthropomorphism at the service of nutraceuticals.
In France, in 2020, 50.5% of households owned a pet . Since the health crisis, anthropomorphism has become increasingly strong. This is evidenced by the trend of “pet parents” who now consider their pets as full-fledged members of their family. In fact, 93% of French pet owners say so .
Owners are thus increasingly concerned about the health of their animals and are willing to make purchases accordingly. They are particularly looking for a quality of nutrition equivalent to their own for their pets. We can find trends in human nutrition on the petfood market, such as natural ingredient trends, additive-free products, made in France, etc. This has led to a “premiumization” of the petfood market, with superfoods and customized diets, particularly based on the animal’s age, size, or breed.
The petfood market faces multiple challenges.
In France, across all sales channels, the dog and cat petfood market is estimated at 3.5 billion euros . Sales in this market are mainly distributed between cats (45%) and dogs (36%) 
in 2020. However, at the European level, there are significant disparities in the proportion of dogs and cats by country and consequently on the types of petfood that are most sold. For example, wet food dominates in Germany where cats are in the majority (1.7 billion euros compared to 815 million euros for dry food) . In contrast, in Spain, the canine population is higher and dry food is more important (826 million euros compared to 251 million euros for wet food) .
Despite the growth of the sector, petfood industry players must face many challenges. They must adjust their production to difficulties related to inflation and resource scarcity, while adapting their offer to the demand for healthy and sustainable pet nutrition.
The major trends in the petfood market are emerging to meet consumer expectations.
To address sustainability concerns, petfood market players are committing to various initiatives such as reducing plastic, introducing recyclable packaging, and working on regenerative agriculture projects.
Pet food diet is a hot topicn one hand, there are grain-free products advocating a return to the animal’s primitive instinct. On the other hand, there is a trend towards vegetarian diets and alternative proteins, such as insect or algae-based kibble.
All these trends are leading to an increasingly significant segmentation of the petfood market, particularly with the functionalization of our pets’ diets.
Functional products at the heart of trends…
Functionalizing animal food has become necessary to meet consumer expectations in terms of health. The key promises of the pet food market are digestive disorders, fur, anxiety, and the launch of CBD in pet food being a notable development.
Nutraceuticals are taking advantage of opportunities in this growing market. “Biotics,” for example, are ingredients for digestive health and pet immunity related to the major trend of microbiota in human nutrition.
…available in a wide range of formats
This trend is prevalent in all forms. Firstly, complete food tends to become more functional, whether dry food (kibble) or wet food. Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on specific health problems in pets rather than just basic nutritional requirements.
Treats are also following this trend. Owners want to provide health benefits as well as rewards. In the more medical sphere, complementary foods are available, particularly on veterinary prescription. Multiple formats are available on the market: fish oils, for example, which can be added to food, tablets, oral gels and pastes, and powders to ensure good pet health.
Nutraceuticals thus offer many innovative perspectives for positioning in the pet food market. A variety of forms and proven innovative ingredients will help companies stand out in this sector.
Are your interested in creating animal nutraceuticals
 FEDIAF, Facts and Figures, 2021.
 Étude Parc des Animaux Familiers 2020 Kantar/Facco
 Sondage Harris Interactive, Octobre 2021.
 PetMarket Magazine, Janvier 2023.
 Xerfi, L’alimentation pour animaux de compagnie, 2021.