Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Pet Food Industry Statistics 2021: Market Share & Trends

Kathryn Copeland

The popularity of pets grows every year, and the industry has seen a boom since COVID-19 has impacted the world. If you own any kind of pet, there’s a good chance that you’ve spent a lot of money on pet food. Vet care, exercise, and lots of attention are all significant parts of pet ownership, but providing them with food is a necessary part of ensuring your pet thrives.

If you’re just curious or considering investing in the pet food market, we’ll go over the statistics and trends of this industry. We hope this helps you understand where things stand currently and how the numbers will be projected in the near future.

divider-multipet

Some Pandemic Pet Facts

We’re going to start with a few interesting facts and statistics regarding the pet food industry before we delve into the market information.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the effect of the pandemic has dramatically increased everything pet-related.

In 2020:
  • Pet ownership in the United States has increased from 67% to 70%, which is an all-time high.
  • 35% of pet owners stated they spent more on their pets in the previous year than the year before.
  • Spending on pet food increased by approximately 11%.
  • Online shopping for pet owners increased from 72% to 86%.
  • Owners prefer premium pet foods, including superfoods, plant-based, ancient grains, and novel proteins.

COVID-19 clearly has changed the pet, and therefore, the pet food industry, which has impacted the market.

dog food for sale in pet shop
Image Credit: pedphoto36pm, Shutterstock

Pet Owners by Age

And then there’s the age of the more recent pet owner to consider. This also can have an effect on the pet food market.

The Millennials (the generation of people born between 1981 and 1996) are currently the most numerous pet owners at 31%Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946 and 1964) are sitting at 29%Gen X (1965 to 1980) follows at 26%, and finally, Gen Z (1997 to 2012) round out the rest (about 14%).

Pet Owner Generations

The Millennials are the generation to watch as it’s believed they will drive the growth in the pet industry more than the other age groups. Investment banking company Morgan Stanley expects that 65% of Millennials will bring a new pet home within the next 5 years.

Current Pet Food Statistics

The APPA has found that dog and cat food are fairly expensive. In 2020, dog owners spent approximately $260 on dog food and $76 on treats, while cat owners spent $230 on cat food and $60 on treats.

Pet Food Processing has found that 41% of cat owners and 43% of dog owners purchase premium pet food. Additionally, according to Packaged Facts, 69% of Millennials are buying natural and organic pet food.

Lastly, SPINS found that 73% of Gen Zers and 68% of Millennials prefer to spend more money if the products are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Morgan Stanley has projected that the pet food industry will see upwards of $275 billion by the year 2030.

Pet-food-and-natural-ingredients_New-Africa_shutterstock
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Pet Food Industry U.S. Statistics

According to the APPA and the 2020 pet industry sales:

  • In the U.S. market in 2020, $103.6 billion was spent overall on pets.
  • Within that amount, $42 billion was spent on pet food and treats.

In 2021, the estimated sales in the U.S.:

  • It is estimated that $109.6 billion will be spent on pets.
  • Pet food and treats are estimated at $44.1 billion.

This means that over the next year, there will be an estimated increase of $6 billion across the entire pet industry (5.8% increase in one year) and $2.1 billion in pet food and treats (5% increase in one year).

Pet Food Industry Worldwide Statistics

How do the statistics for pet food stack up globally? Petfood Industry found that the pet food market worldwide had grown from $74.6 billion in 2019 to about $75.5 billion in 2020. It is thought the growth slowed due to COVID-19 but is expected to recover starting in 2021 and should reach $88.5 billion by 2023. Over the period from 2021 to 2024, an increase is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at about 5%.

The largest region globally in the pet food market is unsurprisingly North America, which makes up 38% of the total market in 2019. The second-largest region was Western Europe, which held 22% of the market, and the Middle East came in as the smallest region in the market.

dog's paws beside his food
Image Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

Pet Food Company Data

We’ve had a look at the industry of pet food, so now we’ll examine the top pet food companies.

Top 5 Pet Food Companies

Credit: Petfood Industry

Company Annual Revenue
Mars Petcare Inc. (U.S.) $18,085,000,000
Nestlé Purina PetCare (U.S.) $15,422,000,000
J.M. Smucker (U.S.) $2,937,500,000
Hill’s Pet Nutrition (U.S.) $2,525,000,000
General Mills (U.S.) $1,694,600,000
Diamond Pet Foods (U.S.) $1,500,000,000
Spectrum Brands/United Pet Group (U.S.) $951,000,000
Agrolimen SA (Spain) $900,000,000
Unicharm Corp. (Japan) $822,000,000
Simmons Pet Food (U.S.) $800,000,000

Credit: Petfood Industry

These statistics show that Mars Petcare Inc. and Nestlé Purina PetCare are quite ahead of the competition. Mars includes the global brands Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin, and Waltham Center. Nestlé Purina includes brands such as Fancy Feast, Dog Chow, Beneful, and Purina Pro Plan.

divider-carrots

What Is Driving the Pet Food Market?

Understanding what motivates the consumer can help further comprehend and anticipate the market trends. Some of what drives the market in the pet food industry has been touched on already.

1. Increasing Numbers of Pet Ownership

As previously discussed, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the industry. The fact that there has been an increase in not only pet ownership but in the amount of money being spent on pets demonstrates the importance of the pet food industry.

Golden retriever puppies eating dog food
Image Credit: jagdprinzessin, Pixabay

2. Organic and Natural Pet Food

And, as already mentioned, the Millennial generation is driven by a need for organic and natural food for their pets. Since Millennials are the largest age group as pet owners, this is a trend that will also be an important one in this market.


3. Dry Food Is the Most Popular

The ease of storage and lower price of dry food has made it the most popular form of pet food. This, of course, means that the largest share in the pet food market is dry pet food.

dog food bowl-pixabay
Image Credit: ariesa66, Pixabay

4. The Number of Dog Owners Is Increasing

Dogs are in the largest growing market as the most adopted pet, making the dog food industry a significant part of the pet food industry. The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted a survey in 2016 that found that there were almost 77 million dogs, as compared to just over 58 million cats, in American households.

divider-food

Trends

We’ve thrown a lot of numbers and information your way so let’s disseminate and sum up what we’ve learned.
  • Pets are considered part of the family, and therefore, their health and welfare are essential.
  • Pet owners are willing to pay more for organic and high-quality pet food.
  • Millennials are the largest age group that are pet owners. This impacts the quality of the food and how it is purchased.
  • There is more interest in environmentally conscious and sustainable production and packaging.
  • Online shopping is driving the industry, including subscription sales.
  • COVID-19 has increased the number of pet adoptions in higher-income households.
  • North America is the dominant region for pet ownership and in pet food sales (with a share of 35% in 2019).
  • Europe has a major market for quality pet food, with over 80 million households owning at least one pet. This is a more cat-oriented market.
  • Asia Pacific (namely Japan, India, China, and South Korea) has emerged as a major market for pet food in 2018.
  • There are more pet dogs than cats, but many households own more than one cat.
  • Pet food demand is much lower for reptiles, fish, and birds.

divider-food2

Final Thoughts

The pet industry has grown exponentially and will continue to grow. When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see that pets have become essential members of the family, and the response will always be providing them with the best care, and consequently, the best food possible.

Catering to the younger generation of pet owners is key. Personalized diets and foods for pets are driving the market. A lot of the traditional pet foods are being replaced with healthier foods made up of easy-to-understand ingredients. This includes more made-to-order and fresh options that might cost more, but today’s consumers don’t mind footing the bill. Pets are well-loved, and keeping them healthy is a small price to pay.


Featured Image Credit: Yuriy Golub, Shutterstock

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.