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Millennials Lead in High-End Pet Food Spending

With many Millennials putting off having children, they are spending premiums on their pets

Millennials might be waiting longer to get married, buy a house, or have children, but are instead choosing to become pet owners, and pampering their pets with high-end foods.

While this might be good news for the pets, it’s causing some problems for some of the industry’s household names.

According to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, legacy pet-food brands such as Pedigree, Purina, Gravy Train, and Kibbles ‘n Bits have all seen slower sales as pet owners shift toward premium-pet-food products.

What’s causing this shift?

“[Millennials] treat them like it was their firstborn child,” said Beverley Petrunich, owner of DoGone Fun, a dog-day-care center in Chicago.

According to Nielsen, annual household spending on pet food among pet owners increased 36% between 2007 and 2017. This has led to a flurry of new brands selling more premium food and “human-grade” snacks, including Rachael Ray’s Nutrish brand, which uses high-end ingredients and even sells gluten-free meals for pets.

According to new data analytics, more than 4,500 new pet-food products were introduced in 2017, which was a 45% increase from the year before. The majority of those new products were premium. This shift has led to prices rising substantially, with the average price of pet food increasing from $1.71 a pound in 2011 to $2.55 a pound by the end of 2017.

Each year the total amount spent on pets has increased.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), US pet owners spent $69.5 billion on their pets last year, up from $66.75 billion in 2016 and $41.2 billion in 2007.

Millennials are not stopping at high-end pet food, though. They are also leading the charge in the $36 billion crafting industry, healthy-snack industry, and houseplant industry.

Once more Millennials start having kids, it will be interesting to see if they continue to purchase premium brands, or if they will fall back on the legacy brands. If legacy pet-food brands truly want to remain attractive to Millennials for a long time, they’ll have to start offering the same features as the premium brands at lower prices.

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