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Now we all know it’s hard enough to get human beings on board with your brand – let alone our four legged friends!

Pet care as a category has grown by 10% per year since 2010.  As the market becomes increasingly lucrative – it’s getting more crowded. Pets are increasingly seen as individuals – each with their own dietary and grooming needs. So, how do you claw your way to the top and stand out amongst the pack? You need the facts on the trends that matter to those with furry companions. Here’s our round up of the trends for pet care in 2016 and beyond.

Paleo-Pups, Grain-Free Kitties and Raw Pets 

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Consumers are becoming more educated on nutrition by the day and their nutritional concerns aren’t limited to themselves. This awareness of ingredients is extending into the pet food category with niche dietary requirements taking centre stage as USP’s.  Now it might seem bonkers, but hear us out. Pets really do manifest allergies in the same way humans do. We’re talking hair loss, gas, bad breath – the works. Pets suffering from allergies has been a key driver behind the launch of successful organic pet food brands like Lily’s Kitchen. https://twitter.com/lilyskitchen

Research is showing that moving away from processed ingredients can dramatically improve a pet’s life expectancy, energy levels and quality of life. Not to mention how, just like when we eat whole foods, these diets can keep pets fuller for longer – until they spot that roast you’ve been cooking of course.

We all love our pets and want them to be healthy, which it’s where the need is born for brands that cater to the sensitive stomachs of our furry friends. Already the industry has seen  a marked increase in GMO free, gluten free and whole food based pet ingredients – but how can you position your brand amongst the early adopters?

Pampered Pets

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Pets are undeniably seen as a part of the family. Pets are a national obsession and pampering them is nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all guilty of letting them hop onto our beds on a Sunday morning, sneaking them that little bit of food at the dinner table and treating them to a hair cut. Research has shown that, in particular, the DINKs (thats the ‘Double Income No Kids’ demographic – you’re welcome for that acronym) are treating their pets like extended family members. Pet owners with two lots of disposable income, who love to treat their pets to a little bit of luxury, are creating a new demographic for you to target. Brands like TIGI and Aesop, which are traditionally know for human personal care, have already ventured into this emerging sector. Their NPD’s in pet care are aimed at pets requiring a little more than a spray with the hose in their grooming regimen. But creating a viable luxury pet grooming product isn’t as simple as slapping a big price tag on a bottle of dog shampoo. Much like human personal care brands, you need to craft a unique position in the market and ensure you’re communicating to the demands of pet owners. How can your brand cater to the demands of this growing sector?

Distrusting the big FMCG Beasts

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As owners become increasingly conscious of food ingredients and more mindful of what’s best for their pets there’s a rising tide towards a distrust of FMCG brands. Now we love you guys – seriously, call us. Let’s do lunch sometime. Large brands have the advantage of  experience, product expertise, a budget for R&D and brand equity that the disruptors in the market would kill for. However, in this category there’s a preference towards independent brands who come without a complex ingredients list and perhaps unfavourable product recall history.

Pet owners have new need states with a demand for whole foods, niche dietary requirements and a more luxurious approach to grooming. Currently large FMCG brands aren’t catering to these needs. With the health and happiness of a member of the family at stake, it’s easy to see why there is an advantage shift towards the independent brands in the space.

So how can you capitalise on these trends as a Pet food or care brand? How do you ensure standout on shelf, cater to the health-conscious pet owner and ensure your brand identity is trusted? With over 25 years experience, and a shared love for all furry friends, we at Slice have a few ideas up our sleeves. Get in touch at stephanie@slicedesign.co.uk

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