The market for dog foods has changed and become more gourmet in many ways. Over the six past years the market for gourmet foods has expanded and has now become an $11 billion industry. This industry is also changing in that it is catering to customer preferences which are moving towards healthier and more natural foods for pets. Brands are changing their product lines to conform to these new customer preferences.
What this generally means is that brands are removing those additives and filler that are commonly included in dog foods such as grains and preservatives that will often increase the calories, but not necessarily the health of the food. The new gourmet dog foods smell and taste better and more natural, and also have more meat and nutrition for your dog.
To engineer this many dog food manufacturers are changing the food products that they are offering to their customers and many of the major brands are acquiring smaller organic dog food competitors. One example of this is Beneful, which is owned by Nestle, acquiring Merrick Pet Care which had recently launched a line of organic dog food known as Backcountry. Merrick Pet Care has long been a pioneer in the dog food industry and was the first certified organic dog food producer. Now Beneful has acquired this expertise.
Other small startups are also getting into the game. Freshpet has launched a dog food line that is devoid of preservatives and therefore needs to be kept in a refrigerator and has a shorter life than many of the competing foods. This means that they require proprietary machines to sell them in retail stores like Wal-Mart and have much higher turnover than they might otherwise.
One of the most unique offerings is also sold by Beneful and requires no special equipment other than amazon‘s website and laptop. Beneful allow customers to simply log on and design their own dog food or treat (https://www.beneful.com/products/dog-treats/) which lets them cater to the individual needs of their dog rather than to be using the standard dog food that was fed to all dogs regardless of their age, size, and breed.
Gourmet dog foods do cost more than their alternatives but provide many potential health benefits that are leading to customers increasingly expanding their budget and demanding more from the foods than ever before.