Helped by increase in pet adoptions during the pandemic-induced lockdown, pet food sales grew by 20% in 2020. And manufacturers are now looking to continue the momentum going ahead.
Mars Petcare, which owns popular brands such as Pedigree, Whiskas, IAMS, and Temptations, and Purina owned by Swiss FMCG major Nestle, witnessed double-digit growth last year.
This traction came not only from traditional channels like pet food stores but also from e-commerce platforms. Encouraged by a surge in pet adoptions, manufacturers are now expanding their products portfolio in India and launching new TV commercials, digital campaigns and online-exclusive products.
"There has been a rise in pet products as an overall category and an increase in demand for pet food. During the lockdown, many pets were adopted and welcomed home and pet parents started stocking up on products, especially the large bags, treats, cat food," says Mars Petcare India General Manager Ganesh Ramani.
Puppy adoption rates went up in the range of 50-100% in 2020. The cat market has grown upwards of 40%, adds Ramani.
Nestle's Purina has also seen an increased consumer demand. "Purina, especially in the canine food category, with our premium pet food brand Supercoat, witnessed encouraging consumer response. Among trade channels, we witnessed the contribution of e-commerce growing to our total revenue," says a spokesperson of Purina Petcare India. Encouraged by the response, Purina launched its first-ever TV commercial for Purina Supercoat last year.
In 2020, about 85 per cent of the domestic pet food market comprised of dog food, while the balance was cat food. According to Ramani, the domestic manufactured pet food market is only around 6 per cent of the ₹2,500 crore market catering to 2.5 crore pet dogs and 4.5 million cats. And he feels that this has the potential to grow over 20 times.
"We plan to introduce more products to cater to the burgeoning pet segment in India. As a trend, we see more and more pet owners shifting to manufactured pet food as people have come to realise that the nutritional needs for their pets cannot be fulfilled by home-cooked food," he adds.
Market research firm Euromonitor had earlier forecasted a 68 per cent rise in sale of pet products in India by 2025.