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20 Largest Pet Food Manufacturers in the US (Updated: 2021)
In the United States, pets are big business. Approximately 67% of households in America own pets. Once you hear that statistic, it becomes much easier to understand how Americans spent upwards of $31 billion on pet food last year alone. Compare that to the approximately $12 billion that was spent on pet food in 2006 and around $7 billion in 1996. It’s clear that there’s a trend emerging, and the pet industry doesn’t seem to be showing any signs that they are slowing. This means that there’s plenty of room for giant companies within the space, including the following 20 companies that are the biggest pet food manufacturers in the US right now.
1. Mars Petcare Inc.
Mars Petcare was first established as a pet-specific branch of Mars Inc. in 1935. In 2019, they were the highest-selling pet food manufacturer, taking an insane $18 billion of the market. Looking at some of the big names they own, it’s easy to see how they rake in so much. Pet food giants like ROYAL CANIN, WHISKAS, and PEDIGREE are all under the Mars Petcare umbrella.
2. Nestle Purina PetCare
Selling $14 billion in the US market in 2019, Nestle Purina Petcare was the second-largest pet food company in America. They employ some serious numbers, with over 18,000 total employees. They’ve got 400 scientists and nutritionists working together to create their science-backed pet food formulas. All of the Purina brands like One, Alpo, Pro Plan, Friskies, Bakers, Beneful, and more are Nestle Purina Petcare brands.
3. JM Smucker
The third position on this list would have belonged to Big Heart Pet Brands in 2017. But today, JM Smucker has absorbed that company, massively expanding their pet holdings in the process. You’ll recognize many of the names under their banner, including heavy hitters such as Gravy Train, 9Lives, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk-Bone, Nature’s Balance, and Rachael Ray Nutrish.
4. Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Hill’s produces a wide range of pet foods including their Prescription Diet line and their Science Diet line. The Prescription Diet line consists of specialized foods formulated by scientists and veterinarians to help pets with very specific illnesses and health issues that have specific nutritional requirements. The Science Diet line is to help other pets live their best lives in peak health. In 2018, Hill’s Pet Nutrition sold over $2 billion in the US market.
5. Diamond Pet Foods
Diamond Pet Foods is worth about $1.5 billion annually, making them the fifth-largest pet food brand in the U.S. They’re known for some pretty high-end foods like Taste of the Wild, NutraGold, Diamond Performance, and Diamond Naturals. They offer both wet and dry food for dogs, as well as treats. Diamond Pet Foods is owned by Schell & Kampeter Inc.
6. Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo sells all-natural pet food that’s marketed as a healthier option to other commercial dog foods. They bring in more than $1 billion annually, and in 2018, they were the last brand to reach that financial foothold. They offer a variety of foods including their Life Protection Formula, Wilderness Formula, Freedom Grain-Free, and Basic Limited Ingredient Diet formulas.
7. Spectrum Brands / United Pet Group
With $820-million in US sales in 2018, Spectrum Brands doesn’t quite crest the $1 billion mark, but they’re certainly still a major player in the pet food industry. You’ve definitely heard of some of the brands they own, such as Nature’s Miracle and Wild Harvest. They even own Iams, but only the European branch. Mars Petfood Inc. owns all other divisions of the brand.
With brands such as Holistic Select, Wellness, and Old Mother Hubbard, WellPet managed to earn $700-million through the sale of pet foods in 2018. Though they may only be eighth in overall pet food sales, they’re number one in the independent pet specialty channel. At least, according to their website.
9. Merrick Pet Care
Merrick Pet Care is a well-known name in pet stores in the U.S., and they’re still growing. They offer a wide range of dog and cat foods including grain-free recipes and more. They’re focused on creating healthy recipes made from premium ingredients to help your pet achieve and maintain optimal health.
10. Central Garden & Pet
AvoDerm and Pinnacle pet foods are both earned by Central Garden and Pet, which is enough to bring them nearly $400 million in revenue in 2018. They offer a diverse array of foods for dogs and cats, including wet and dry recipes, grain-free formulas, and much more.
11. American Nutrition
American Nutrition managed to corner $380 billion of the pet food market in 2018. This was enough to attract the attention of another major pet food manufacturer, C.J. Foods, who went on to purchase American Nutrition. This deal was finalized in 2020, and the two brands merged to create a new brand, ALPHIA.
12. Sunshine Mills
Sunshine Mills owns quite a few premium pet food brands, including EVOLVE, Nurture Farms, Hunter’s Special, Veterinary Select, Meaty Treats, and many more. With $350 in annual sales, they’re taking a pretty large chunk of the premium pet food market.
13. KLN Family Brands (Tuffy’s Pet Food)
Tuffy’s Pet Food brands pull in about $265 annually, which is enough to keep them firmly planted in the top 20 US pet food manufacturers. Tuffy’s is owned by KLN Family Brands; a company that owns quite a few ventures outside of pet foods, including Wiley Wallaby Soft & Chewy Licorice.
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14. Simmons Pet Food
Simmons has been producing high-quality pet food since 1964. They’re focused on sourcing the highest-quality ingredients for their wet and dry pet foods. In total, they operate three wet pet food factories, one plant for dry pet food, and another factory for producing pet treats; all located within the U.S. and Canada.
15. Champion Petfoods
Champion Petfoods is actually a Canadian company, but their brands are sold in the U.S., including Orijen and ACANA; two relatively big names in the pet food space. It’s enough to earn them over $200 million in annual revenue, even if it’s not going to help them break into the top-ten, yet.
Alphia didn’t get much time to show what they can do in 2020. After all, this brand was only just started this year by merging American Nutrition and C.J. Foods. Even with just a few months to work, they’re already a major name in the industry with the big names under their belt that came with both major pet food players they merged.
Freshpet makes pet food that’s so fresh, you have to keep it in the fridge. It’s a whole new way of doing pet food, and it helped them to earn almost $200 million in revenue in 2018. They make healthy foods that you can feel good about feeding your pet and their base of dedicated fans and customers is continuing to grow.
18. Nature’s Variety
Nature’s Variety may be near the bottom of this list, but they still manage to earn more than $100 million annually, keeping them squarely-planted in the top 20 U.S. pet food brands. The most-known brand under their umbrella is the Instinct line of foods, known for their inclusion of raw in their formulas.
19. Kent Pet Group
The Kent Pet Group prides themselves on their sustainable practices that are leading the way for the industry. Their foods are based on science, promising to offer your pet the best nutrition possible and quality that you can trust. They sell under the names of Kent and Blue Seal, helping them to just barely reach the $100-million mark in 2018.
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20. Nunn Milling Co.
Nunn Milling fell shy of the $100-million mark for annual income, but they still made it into the top 20 pet food manufacturers in the U.S., which is no easy feat. They offer balanced nutrition made with top-quality ingredients. Some of their biggest lines include Hunter’s Select, Nunn Better High Protein, and Ocean Plenty cat food.
Featured image credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- 1. Mars Petcare Inc.
- 2. Nestle Purina PetCare
- 3. JM Smucker
- 4. Hill’s Pet Nutrition
- 5. Diamond Pet Foods
- 6. Blue Buffalo
- 7. Spectrum Brands / United Pet Group
- 8. WellPet
- 9. Merrick Pet Care
- 10. Central Garden & Pet
- 11. American Nutrition
- 12. Sunshine Mills
- 13. KLN Family Brands (Tuffy’s Pet Food)
- 14. Simmons Pet Food
- 15. Champion Petfoods
- 16. Alphia
- 17. Freshpet
- 18. Nature’s Variety
- 19. Kent Pet Group
- 20. Nunn Milling Co.