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Pet Food Market: Key Trends and Leading Players in 2018

19 Sep 2018 • by Natalie Aster

LONDON – The world’s pet food industry is booming. During the recent decades, robust urbanisation has spurred the growth in the number of families and households, which in its turn has fueled the demand for companionship in the form of pets. Today, the pet is viewed as a part of the family and is also treated economic stability act as drivers of the adoption of animal companions; it is set to give a boost to the further growth in the world’s pet food industry. Here are some of the major trends influencing the pet food market landscape in 2018:

  • The rising tendency of pet humanization is one of the major growth engines of the pet food market as nowadays pet owners are ever more concerned about the wellness and diet of their animal companions. This surging trend has revolutionised the traditional pet food industry: now, people tend to give preference to feeds that are similar to their own dietary habits. The introduction of gluten-free, frozen, and grain-free diets for domestic animals is the result of the increasing pets humanisations.
  • The enhancing health concerns amid pet owners drive the expenditure on pet food with high nutritional value. People are increasingly looking for specialised and higher quality food for their pets.
  • The increasing premiumisation in the pet food sector has encouraged a range of innovations in tastes and flavours of pet foods as well as propelled a radical increase in the premium pet food segment.
  • The escalating popularity of functional pet foods that cater to various specific health concerns (e.g., dental health, indigestion, join and cartilage dysfunction, etc.) is another testament encouraging pet food to shift to personalised options.
  • The majority of pet owners give their preference to DIY pet foods instead of supplements. The mounting demand for DIY pet products has encouraged the launch of special websites and recipe books dealing with this specialty. To address this trend, some pet food brands offer products that can be personalised or in combination with other products. For example, the segment of dehydrated and raw pet food provides an array of opportunities for DIY experiments.
  • The rapid increase of online sales is one of the key contributors to the pet food market upturn. At present, the Internet retailing is outstripping and even stealing sales of pet foods from other distribution channels.
  • Given the busy lifestyle of the modern generation, pet owners increasingly give preference to brands that offer home delivery. The mounting demand for home-delivered pet food has opened up the gates for further innovation and increasing competition in the pet food market.


The world’s pet food industry has long been recognised as recession-proof and managed to maintain healthy performance during the recent economic downturns. From 2010 to 2017, the world’s market for pet food demonstrated a steady upturn at a modest CAGR. However, during the past two years, the growth pace has remarkably decelerated.  

Global sales of pet food over 2010 – 2017 (in USD billion)

Global sales of pet food over 2010 – 2017 (in USD billion)

Regionally, the US boasts the largest pet food market around the globe. The country’s chunk of the world’s overall market revenue is equal to appr. 44%. Despite the robust growth in other country-wide markets for pet food, the US has maintained the lead for over a decade, and the country’s share of the global market remained almost the same as well. In 2017, the US pet food market had revenues of above USD 27.5 billion.

Top 10 country-wide markets for pet food based on revenues, 2017 (in USD billion)
Top 10 country-wide markets for pet food based on revenues, 2017 (in USD billion)

The second spot in terms of the pet food market revenues belongs to the UK. This national market for pet food had revenues of over USD 4.46 billion in 2017. It is followed by France’s pet food market with total revenues of above USD 4.1 billion in 2017.


The pet food industry is a fairly concentrated one with the 5 leading players accounting for around 40% of the global sales. The industry players are facing the increased competitions as consumer demands and preferences are changing at a brisk pace.

The US company, Mars Petcare Inc., is the unrivalled leader in the world’s pet food market. It has been in operation for over 75 years and now encompasses three of the five leading pet food brands – Royal Canin, Whiskas, and Pedigree. Today, Mars Petcare operates appr. 50 brands, made up nearly 75 thousand associates in over 55 countries worldwide, which serve the health and nutrition needs of different pets such as cats, dogs, birds, fish, horses, etc. In 2017, revenues generated by Mars Petcare exceeded USD 17.2 billion.

10 leading pet food manufacturers based on revenues, 2017 (in USD billion)

10 leading pet food manufacturers based on revenues, 2017 (in USD billion)

The second leading pet food supplier is the US company, Nestlé Purina PetCare. The Purina brand offers a broad spectrum of wet and dry food for dogs and cats. This company is dedicated to improving the well-being of pets by offering 100% complete and balanced foods for pets. Last year, Nestlé Purina PetCare generated around USD 12.5 billion in revenue.

The US-based firm, Hill’s Pet Nutrition ranks as the third leading pet food manufacturer across the globe. This Company also holds the dominant position in the premium pet food segment. The range of Hill’s product offerings has considerably expanded during the past years and now comprises a wide range of prescription diet foods for pets (distributed only through pet/vet pharmacies) and pet foods under science diet brand (distributed via specialty stores and veterinarians). Hill’s Pet Nutrition had over USD 2.29 billion in revenue in 2017.


Looking ahead, the outlook for the world’s pet food industry for the mid-to-long term remains appetizing. This market will likely follow a steady growth trajectory in the years ahead, registering a CAGR between 3-4%. The competition in the pet food market is slated to continue heating up in the offing with pet food manufacturers focusing on the expansion of their pet food offerings; this will spur the further market growth. New marketing campaigns along with packaging innovations are also expected to add to the upsurge in the pet food market.

© MarketPublishers.com, 2018

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