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The Strangely Robust Pet Food Market in India

Get a hold of this: "The pet food market in India was expected to reach Rs 43.5 trillion in 2017 from its value of Rs 15.2 trillion in 2016".

Photo Credit : YouTube (representational image only),

India has an impressive pet population and is one of the largest and untouched pet food markets in the world.

Samira (name changed) just bought a lab puppy, 2 months old, a soft fawn coat and 15,000 rupees, from a dealer in Lajpat Nagar. The puppy has its own little lap of luxury of more furry blankets and a duvet in her home in Green Park, Delhi. “When baby wakes up, your mummy is ready with the bottle,” she captions a photo of the sleeping canine juvenile on social media; she is also showing us a bottle of milk the pup can drink out of.

According to information from a firm named Research and Markets, the burgeoning middle and upper class population, increasing pet ownership, along with increased awareness about pet health has given rise to the pet food market in India. The pet food market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.2 percent to reach Rs 43.5 trillion in 2017 from its value of Rs 15.2 trillion in 2016. The dog food segment contributes the most to the pet food revenue compared to other pet foods such as cat and fish food. Pedigree and Royal Canin are the most preferred brands among pet owners.

Chaitanya Jain, MD and founder of pet treat company, Choostix, says the Indian pet food market is currently affected by a number of factors, many of which are similar to trends that have influenced human food. For example, greater health consciousness among consumers has given rise to new health-driven options for pets, such as organic and natural pet food, as well as innovations in functional and fortified products.

Indian pet parents want pet food with reasonable pricing

With the long lasting effects of demonetization and the introduction of complex indirect taxes through the GST regime, challenging economic times in India have led pet owners to become more value and price cognisant. Large increases in production and commodity costs have also affected consumers, as manufacturers are forced to raise unit prices.

Indian pet parents want healthy pet food

Health will continue to be important to consumers, although price will play a stronger role than in the past. In spite of various factors, high quality products that are free from additives and preservatives and fortified with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, will expand ground in the marketplace. Efficient and prepared claims will continue to perform well as consumers seek to provide pets with optimal nutritional benefits. Low-fat/low-calorie foods are gaining popularity in response to rising levels of pet obesity.

Indian pet parents look for pet food that won’t be boring to eat

As pets continue to be humanized, owners are increasingly seeking specialized and higher quality pet food that mirror their own eating lifestyle. Thus, premium and segmented pet food remains popular in the market despite the ongoing trends of economy. More and more pet food manufacturers are shifting their product portfolios up-market to respond to this demand, as well as to preserve sales and margins, especially since the lower-priced sub-sector is increasingly supplanted by private labels. Owners also want to indulge and reward their pets outside of regular meals. As a result, pet treats are seeing strong retail growth. According to Euro monitor, global dog treat sales grew 22 percent from 2007 to 2012 to reach over $5.8 billion, while global cat treat sales grew 47% in the same time period to reach $1.2 billion.

To further add value and to differentiate one's product, manufacturers are not only shifting to premium but are also segmenting pet food formulas for various age, breed and lifestyle.

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