Pet parents have seen rising prices of pet supplies in the 2020s. Dog food cost is a guide to the state of overall pet food industry. Globally, the cost of dog food ingredients has been rising. Why is dog food so expensive? Factors are at play in the high inflation rate of the dog food industry. The factors pushing prices up include:
- Millennials willing to spend more on dogs
- Pet parents taking better care of their dogs
- Better quality ingredients (in some cases)
- Scientific research
The Science Behind Dog Food
Scientific research is required in ensuring the quality of today’s best dog food. Kibble, for example, is the cheapest form of dog food but still has a complex formula. Scientists use their skills to create long-lasting and balanced kibbles for dogs. Pet parents, however, are willing to pay extra to receive a kibble their pup will enjoy. The list of healthy ingredients is more important to pet parents than ever before, ingredients that answer pet nutrition needs.
The U.S. pet food and treats market was worth $42 billion in 2020. The rising cost of dog food has come with new varieties of kibble introduced. High quality pet food is now also available with the backing of the scientific community. With much research necessary, pet foods are difficult to create because of the long list of ingredients to make them tasty for pups.
Dogs and people have different attitudes about what smells and tastes good. Our canine family members enjoy strong smells most humans find offensive. The complex recipe for kibble requires a high nutritional value and strong smell to attract dogs . However, the smell of kibble cannot be strong enough to make it offensive to store in your home.
Byproducts are not Byproducts
North American and Western European consumers do not vary the proteins they eat. Dog food manufacturers have coined the term byproducts for the proteins western consumers rarely buy. Liver and pizzle are considered delicacies in Asia and Eastern Europe, with high prices charged. Your puppy’s favorite kibble contains meats the industry fights for with top chefs.
The Lingering Effects of the Pandemic
The effects of the pandemic on the food industry have been long-lasting. Dry and wet dog foods rely on the meat-packing industry for ingredients. One of the side-effects of the pandemic was a drive to euthanize animals that had come into contact with infected human workers. Before the meat packing industry created procedures to combat infections, the number of euthanized animals threatened the global supply chain. Meat packers and the agricultural industry have been returning to normal. These industries will take a long time to return to their pre-pandemic levels.
Inflation caused by global uncertainty spiked in 2022. The pandemic and conflict in Eastern Europe have pushed prices for everyday products. The pet food and treats industry has managed to keep its rate of inflation below that of human food. The inflation rate for human food has risen by 8.6% in February 2022. In contrast, dog food manufacturers have managed to steady their ship at 3.7% in February 2022.
That is not to say pet owners have not seen spiking inflation rates. The rate of inflation for pet food since February 2020 reached 5.4%, with human foods rising by 13.4%.
Millennials Spend More
One of the biggest changes in the pet care industry has been the rise of millennial pet parents. Americans and Europeans have spent excessive amounts on their pets for decades.
Millennials have led the human health and wellbeing market over the last two decades. The interest in the good health of millennials is passed on in the healthy lifestyle to your pampered pup. From DNA health screening through the best dog DNA test kits to a healthy diet and exercise, millennials are more aware of the needs of their pups. A pampered pooch can enjoy raw foods and the best fresh dog food meal kits that are more expensive dog food options than kibble. The best dog food delivery service subscription options are rising in the pet food industry for many pet owners with a disposable income.
Pet Food Manufacturers Know Their Market
Pet parents are looking to maintain the good health and energy levels of their pooches. Canned wet dog food and commercial pet food are options that continue to drive the pet food market. Pet food manufacturers are turning to human-grade food to create dog food recipes too. The change in the industry to meet the demands of consumers is adding to the rising pet food costs.
The cost of items in the pet food and treats sector is being driven by consumers who will spend more than in the past. The wide range of pet food products means prices are climbing for premium and human-grade foods. Checking the ingredients of products is a good idea to find new products at lower prices. The pet food industry is also catching up with the human food sector in packaging innovations. A product packaged only for dogs sells for a higher price than the same product on a human grocery store shelf.
Competition is Driving Inflation
Competition is a good thing for consumers. The question in the pet food and treats industry is how much competition exists. Did you know that dog food manufacturers produce products for different retail brands? Producing food for different brands by manufacturers drives prices up based on packaging. Keeping the market diverse allows dog food brands to develop competition regardless of manufacturer.
1. Do dogs need expensive food?
More research needs to be done on the link between expense and dog food quality. More expensive does not always mean better for your pampered pooch.
2. How can I reduce the cost of dog food?
Compare the ingredients of the food you choose for your dog. It is possible to find similar products at a lower price.
3. Is it cheaper to feed your dog human food?
The rate of inflation for human food is higher than for pet food. Pet food remains cheaper than human foods.
4. Has dog food gone up in price?
Like most products in 2022, dog food prices have risen. The rise in price for dog food remains lower than for other products.