Pet food as supplement or snack

By: trademagazin Date: 2008. 10. 05. 08:00

According to data from Euromonitor, the global market of pet food has been growing continuously since 2001. Global pet food sales totalled USD 45 billion in 2007. Growth is expected to continue in future years, at a rate of about 2,9 percent. According to Zsolt Mayer, corporate relations director of Mars, the quality of food given to pets is closely related to the quality of the emotional relationship between pets and their owners. The pet food market is expanding dynamically in Eastern Europe, where the proportion of households with pets is higher than in Western Europe and pet owners have realised the advantages of pet food. Sales had increased by 200 percent in the 2002-2007 period and further growth of 50-60 percent is expected till 2012, with total sales in the region reaching USD 3,95 billion. The driving force behind expansion is the rising standard of living and growing income. As Gyöngyi Szórádi, general secretary of the Hungarian Pet Food Alliance has told us, private labels have been dominating the Hungarian market for years. Only 11,5 percent of Hungarian pet owners feed their pets with pet food exclusively. In the opinion of Diána Kelemen-Baross, brand manager from Mars, two opposite trends are present in the market at the same time. Some owners prefer premium quality products, while others are highly sensitive to price and buy decent quality private labels. According to Dr. István Szetmár, director of Alpha-Vet, dry super premium quality pet food (Eukanuba, Pro Plan) has produced the fastest growth in demand in recent years, with prices rising by only 1-2 percent. Dry food is relatively cheap and easy to store, while home made food is never optimal for the animals’ needs. Private labels account for 50 percent of the Hungarian market, with 50 percent lower average price than brands. Premium brands can be four or five times more expensive than private labels. Hyper markets and supermarkets are the primary distribution channels in pet food, while some premium products can only be purchased directly.Mars is present in all distribution channels, while the super premium products of Alpha Vet are sold through professionals and specialised stores only. Pet Hungária is a leading manufacturer of private label pet food. According to Ferenc Kedves, director of Pet Hungária, a leading manufacturer of private label pet food, hyper markets are also the primary distribution channel for them, but the importance of hard discounts has been growing for years. Among manufacturers, the largest number of innovations were launched by Nestlé last year. With a market share of 24 percent, Nestlé is focusing on market gaps, with products like. Pro Plan Dry Senior Cat Food. The expansion produced by Mars is based on innovation with the co-operation of the Waltham centre of animal nutrition. Their basic brands (Pedigree, Cesar, Whiskas) are strong. Though there has been a major pet food safety scandal in the US, safety standards are strict in the industry and especially in the EU. The European pet food safety organisation (FEDIAF) is working on getting European safety standards accepted world-wide. Hungary has a very good reputation regarding safety standards, which has been one of the reasons for all three of the leading manufacturers (Mars, Nestlé and Provimi) establishing their regional production facilities here.

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