Globally, the pet food industry is growing at a furious pace that only seems to have accelerated during the pandemic. There’s a lot of money to be made by making pet food, but which companies are making the most of it? This article will break down the pet food market share by brand, showing you the 10 biggest global companies. We’ll also give you a sneak peek of future growth, including revenue predictions for the rest of the decade.
The 10 Biggest Pet Food Companies at a Glance
|Mars Petcare||19 billion USD|
|Nestle Purina PetCare||16.5 billion USD|
|Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Colgate-Palmolive)||3.3 billion USD|
|J.M. Smucker||2.7 billion USD|
|General Mills||1.7 billion USD|
|Diamond Pet Foods||1.5 billion USD|
|Simmons Pet Food||1 billion USD|
|Alphia||875 million USD|
|Unicharm Corp||829 million USD|
|Thai Union Group||802 million USD|
1. Mars PetCare
Mars PetCare is the biggest player in the global pet food industry, boasting a roster that includes some of the most well-known and oldest brands. Mars foods are sold worldwide. Besides pet food, Mars also owns numerous veterinary hospital chains and diagnostic labs, including Antech Labs, Banfield, and Veterinary Specialty Hospitals (VSH.)
The corporate headquarters is in Franklin, Tennessee. Besides manufacturing, Mars Petcare is heavily involved in nutrition science and research and charitable efforts such as ending pet homelessness and promoting sustainable business practices.
2. Nestle Purina PetCare
Close behind Mars Petcare, we find Nestle Purina PetCare, the makers of the well-known Purina pet food brands. Nestle Purina has been making pet food for over 80 years, producing everything from grocery store Dog Chow to heavily researched and tested, veterinary-specific prescription dog food.
It’s available in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Middle East and is a true global power in pet food. In America, the corporate headquarters is located in Missouri. They conduct extensive research and feeding trials at their pet care center, also located in Missouri.
3. Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Colgate-Palmolive)
Owned by the Colgate-Palmolive corporation, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is known worldwide for producing Science Diet and Science Diet Prescription Veterinary Diets. The company was founded in the early 20th century in Kansas, where it remains headquartered to this day. Hill’s produced its first prescription veterinary diet in 1948, making it a pioneer in pet nutrition.
The company sells more than 60 prescription dog and cat foods and over-the-counter diets. Hill’s recipes are among the most frequently sold and recommended by veterinarians. Like Mars and Nestle Purina, Hill invests heavily in research and feeding trials. They maintain a Global Pet Nutrition Center in Topeka, Kansas.
4. M. Smucker
Although it’s best known for manufacturing jam, peanut butter, and condensed milk, J.M. Smucker is also one of the biggest global pet food companies. The company produces primarily inexpensive grocery-store brands.
In addition to pet food, they also own some of the most well-known pet treat companies, including Milkbone and Pupperoni. Smucker recently sold part of its dry pet food business and a manufacturing plant to Diamond Pet Foods and announced it would focus more on dog treats, cat food, and the Rachel Ray Nutrish brand.
5. General Mills
In 2018, General Mills (best known for breakfast cereals) purchased the Blue Buffalo pet food brand. Blue Buffalo was one of the first to prioritize “natural” pet food made with recognizable ingredients. With an extensive line of dog and cat food and treats, Blue Buffalo added instant value to General Mills.
Blue Buffalo is manufactured at two plants in the Midwest. Before its purchase by General Mills, the company had a somewhat problematic recall history, but quality control appears to have improved under corporate guidance.
6. Diamond Pet Foods
Founded in 1970, Diamond Pet Foods produces the Diamond line of pet food and Taste of the Wild. Diamond Pet Foods is headquartered in Missouri but operates five other U.S. manufacturing plants, including the Kansas plant they just purchased from J.M. Smucker.
Diamond Pet Foods are sold worldwide, including in the Caribbean, Middle East, South Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. Diamond also serves as the manufacturing site for other pet food brands, such as Costco’s Kirkland products.
7. Simmons Pet Food
Simmons Pet Food produces a few of its brands but is primarily known as one of the busiest canned dog food manufacturers in the United States. Simmons serves as the wet food manufacturing arm of several major (unnamed) brands.
With corporate headquarters in Arkansas, the company recently stopped producing dry food and treats to focus exclusively on canned food production. They also have a plant in Ontario, Canada. Simmons has a good reputation for quality control, which may explain its popularity for outsourced canned food production.
Alphia serves as a “manufacturing partner” for existing pet food companies. Essentially, they serve as a one-stop shop for companies looking to develop private-label dog food. Alphia offers guidance on everything from pricing, label design, recipe formula, and ingredients.
The company was formed in 2020 from the merger of two existing pet food manufacturers. With its headquarters in Utah, the company serves markets worldwide, from Africa to Western Europe. They have seven manufacturing plants and can produce over 1 billion pounds of food and treats annually.
9. Unicharm Corp
Unicharm Corp, a company based in Japan, produces pet food and “pet toiletries” products, including pet diapers and cat litter products. Unicharm has taken advantage of the growing pet population in its native country, as young Japanese people increasingly choose pets over human children.
As any parent would, these pet owners spoil their “babies,” which leads to growth in demand for premium pet care products. Unicharm also produces human hygiene products, including diapers, baby wipes, incontinence protection, and a paper towel that can be used as a dishcloth.
10. Thai Union Group
Based in Thailand, Thai Union Group is primarily known as a global source of frozen, chilled, and canned seafood products. For example, they own the Chicken of the Sea tuna brand that is well-known in the United States. The company also produces fish and seafood-based pet treats and canned dog and cat food.
Fish snacks, canned cod liver, and wet food with real tuna loin are the most popular products made by the Thai Union Group. They have four production plants and serve as a manufacturing partner for other pet food companies.
Global Pet Market Future Growth
In 2021, the global pet food market was worth about 110.53 billion USD. According to projections, it is expected to grow at about 5% annually through the end of the decade. By 2029, the market is projected to be worth 163.7 billion USD.
Covid lockdowns and the accompanying rise in pet adoptions are believed to have played a major role in the faster-than-expected pet food market growth.
Moving forward, it’s expected that pet owners will continue to show interest in custom and personalized pet food. Developing countries may offer other growth opportunities as more people increase their incomes to purchase premium pet products.
Gone are the days when barn cats hunted their dinner and dogs begged for scraps from the dinner table. With billions to be earned from feeding pets, the biggest human food corporations are getting in on the action. Advertising dollars do not equal better food, and pet owners overwhelmed by all the options available should consult with their veterinarians to find the best diet for their pets.
Featured Image Credit: Rutina, Shutterstock