Factors that determine the purchase decision in Pet Food
Pet owners are increasingly aware of what they want to give their loved ones. This fact, accompanied by the premiumization of food, clean labels, and the promotion of sustainability, increases awareness and knowledge and, therefore, purchase decisions become progressively smarter.
But what are the factors that determine purchasing decisions in the Pet Food world?
● Humanization, above all
We cannot say that this factor is a key aspect of the food itself, but seeing how this trend has become highly present in recent years, we cannot leave it out. That is a fact, and we already know it: pet humanization is one of the biggest trends in the pet food industry. In this sense, we can affirm that health care awareness in a preventive and not a curative way (that is, acting before diseases appear) results in greater access to information. Today, pet owners choose based on the ingredients, food quality, and specific benefits beyond price and packaging. It is remarkable that this is a movement that, without a doubt, allows us to consistently improve the market because we can compete by offering different alternatives and not just looking for the lowest price.
Thus, for example, we see how new proposals arise that seek to respond to the new demands for "grain-free," "natural" or "high protein" food; not to mention the search for food that can meet the specific needs of a pet group, such as neutered cats or large breed adult dogs.
Use case: United States
A study was carried out to determine the main purchase determining factors of the inclination toward one Pet Food product or another. The survey was conducted with 1,209 dog owners and 972 cat owners. It should be noted that, in the last country statistics, 68% of its inhabitants had at least one pet.
Factors influencing Pet Food choice
Sources of dietary or nutritional information
Yes, for more than 43% of those surveyed, their veterinary health care team is their principal source of information about food for their pet. In the second place, there are Internet sources, with more than 24% (it is, therefore, important to inform with knowledge and verified sources). We can understand, logically, that, hand in hand with humanization, just as we listen to our doctors and the recommendations on how to take care of our health, it is also being done, progressively, more and more with veterinarians.
It is not strange to imagine a novice pet owner asking their veterinarian what Pet Food brand they recommend the most, right?
However, the majority of those surveyed agreed that the most important thing is to provide the pet with the best possible nutrition, one beneficial for them and of stable quality; and feed them with an appropriate diet for each particluar condition.
The characteristics of the food that, according to the survey, are considered most important when choosing are:
● Nutritional capacity
Surprisingly, the least important were:
● The sale (It means its space in the market)
● The color
● The packaging
● The absence of gluten
To understand the role of calorie labeling in pet food purchasing decisions, participants were asked about their use and awareness. The majority (74.9%!) stated that they were aware of this label type, but only 52% of them indicated that they use or look at this information.
How important is it to buy healthy food for ourselves? And how important is it to buy it for our pets too? Health prioritization showed that at least 53% of pet owners think their health is as important as their pets' health. (health prioritization gap = 0). Surprisingly, 43.6% had scores indicating higher importance in buying healthy food for their pets, and only 3% stated a higher priority for themselves.
Price and brand loyalty
Surveyed were asked how important changes in food cost were for them versus their pets. And in this case, the price change in human food turned out to be more important than that of pet food. Likewise, pet owners claim to be more loyal to pet food brands than human food brands.
The majority of survey participants want to feed their pets the most nutritious diet possible. Results indicate that pet owners evaluate wholesomeness, freshness, and pet food ingredients when making purchasing decisions.
While it is encouraging that owners are trying to feed their pets the best nutrition possible, the truth is that, at the end of the day, most are not experts in animal nutrition and can misinterpret or understand certain information, either due to lack of knowledge or unclear marketing strategies or that promote benefits with a lack of scientific evidence. An example of this is what was seen in the survey, where 3% of respondents stated that they feed their pets raw food when, in fact, there is still not enough evidence that the raw diet offers the same or more benefits than the traditional diet, without increasing health risks.
There is no doubt that better education is needed from veterinary health professionals and manufacturers to continue providing tools to pet owners. This way, they can make intelligent decisions based on verified information.
Let's consider the context
We know, then, that the highest-ranked pet food characteristics were health and nutrition, quality, ingredients, and freshness (at least for US pet owners).
Additionally, the focus on ingredients and good nutrition may reflect how trends in human health and nutrition have begun to spill over into the world of pet health. And although this is something that can spread worldwide because we are seeing it in all the local pet food markets, it should be remembered that, after all, the choice of pet food also depends on the economic, political, and society in which people find themselves.
We encourage the data from this survey to be a reference, but not the last word about all markets, since each country, each city, has its particularities.
Source: All Pet Food