Like children, pets are proving recession-resistant—particularly when it comes to health-related products, such as animal supplements, nutraceutical treats and functional, natural and organic food. “I’m completely blown away by how well we continue to do this year,” said L. Phillips Brown, DVM, vice president of research and development for Nutri-Vet Animal Health Care Products, which manufactures and sells a range of condition-specific supplement and nutraceutical products for dogs, cats and horses. “I figured we might be one of the groups of products that people would cut back on as money got tighter, but we are up 40% for the first six months of this year.”
Brown, who is also a consultant and pet food formulator for Newman’s Own Organics, said that company, too, is experiencing strong sales of its organic dog and cat food lines, even in the midst of the current economic downturn. “Consumers recognize that high-quality products keep their pets healthy,” Brown said. “They might scrimp on things for themselves, but they know they are responsible for the health of their animals, so they won’t scrimp on them.”
Nutrition Business Journal estimates show that the U.S. animal nutrition market—which includes supplements, natural & organic food, functional treats, and natural & organic pet supplies for dogs, cats, horses and other non-feed-chain animals—jumped 11.6% to $2.8 billion in 2008. Growth for this nutrition industry segment slowed considerably last year compared to 2007—when U.S. consumer sales expanded 27%, largely due to the spike in natural & organic pet food sales following the massive recall of melamine-tainted pet food in March of that year. Still, last year’s sales in the animal nutrition market once again outpaced total pet industry sales, which grew 5.3% to $45 billion in 2008, according to NBJ estimates. Last year, $295 million in new sales dollars were added to the U.S. animal nutrition market.
NBJ’s August issue dives deep into the U.S. animal nutrition market and includes articles about pet and equine supplements and animal nutrition ingredient supply and product trends. To order a copy of the issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free 32-page sample issue, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.
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