EVOLVING TRENDS AND FUTURISTIC OUTLOOK

The Indian Pet Industry has seen an unprecedented growth in recent years and is on its way to becoming one of the most lucrative and commercially viable markets of the world in the coming years. The country has seen a significant increase in the number of pet adoptions in the last decade. This can be attributed to various factors such as urbanization, cropping up of nuclear families, humanization of pets, and exposure to social media. The pet industry is primarily divided into four segments- pet food, pet accessories, pet grooming and pet healthcare. Of these, over 80% of the value share can be attributed to the pet food segment alone.

As per a report by TechSci research, the pet food market in India is estimated to cross USD 270 million by 2019. Dogs remain the most popular pets in India followed by cats, birds and fish. Thus, the dog food sector is likely to continue to expand in the forecast period as the most significant contributor within the pet food market.
In India, pet food mostly comprises of treats, packaged and ready to eat meals available as dry as well as wet food products. While various brands seek to tap the growth potential in this arena, they need to understand that they’re dealing with consumers who prefer to give home-cooked dinners to their pets rather than commercial dog food. This trend has paved way for the emergence of many start-ups specializing in home-cooked, natural food products for pets. Many companies are coming up with customized, well balanced meals for pets that are freshly cooked and nutritious and delivered right at your doorstep.

Indians follow a culture of feeding their pets whatever they eat at home. Once the pets get accustomed to this, they don’t really like eating packaged food anymore. Today, your pet can chose from a host of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals followed by dessert instead of eating boring packaged food every day.

The pet food industry is booming with numerous pet kitchens and pet bakeries throughout the country that cater to your pet’s taste buds on a daily basis. Whether it is your Pooch’s birthday or you happen to be dealing with a fussy eater, you can always get the meals customized to your pet’s liking.

The contribution of pet kitchens in the country might be an emerging trend, but it’s likely to take off in the next few years and become a robust segment on its own. The success of home-cooked pet food companies and pet bakeries lies in their commercial viability in the near future. They might face tough competition from packaged food brands but considering the inclination of Indian pet parents to serve home-cooked meals to their fur buddies, they are likely to soar to unprecedented heights in the coming few years.

The future of Natural pet food companies in India:

Woof Yums- a start-up providing freshly cooked food for pet parents in Delhi-NCR started their journey in 2015. Jojo, the founder of the company says, “It all started with a vision- a passion to provide the best in terms of freshly cooked balanced meals for our voiceless friends. We started with an old dog that had difficulty ingesting food due to his severed tongue. He was our first benefactor. And we had promised to provide free meals to him for a lifetime.”

They continued to expand at a steady pace over the last few years and on their 5th anniversary this year Woof Yums has launched India’s first Dehydrated Range of Fresh and Natural Food for Pets and Strays. A great deal of experimentation and research has gone into forming more than 30 different meals and natural supplements to provide nutritious food to pets.

The meals which are prepared under stringent hygienic conditions are vacuum-packed and untouched by hands thereby, increasing the shelf life of the product to 6 months. This also enables to retain the freshness of the product as soon as it is put in hot water.

Jojo goes on to add, “Natural Food in India is still an unorganized market, but holds tremendous potential. Pet parents need to be made aware of the benefits of home-cooked food and the products offered. Thorough research based on geographical conditions, economic factors, general acceptance and high level of
hygiene is required to start the business of natural pet food.”

Unfortunately, in the absence of stringent laws in India, we see fly by night entrepreneurs starting their companies with the sole motive of earning money rather than benefiting the pet industry. Pet parents need to be made aware about the ingredients in every meal and why they are necessary for their pet. Unless the consumer is aware, we cannot call it serious business.

Bark and Treat Pet Bakery- founded by Himani Lohia in March 2017 is dedicated to providing all natural and high quality dog treats, cakes and snacks. They take pride in manufacturing gluten free, preservative free products made with human grade ingredients.

According to Lohia, “The current trends in home baked products for pets are gaining immense popularity. Pet parents are slowly beginning to recognize the value these home-made products bring to their pets.”

As per Himani, it is too early to spell the exact contribution home-bakeries are making to the overall pet industry in India. However, there is massive potential in this field.

There is a rapid increase in households with pets and the concept of all-natural dog treats is gaining popularity by the year. Pet parents are far more informed about the nutritional needs of their pets and want the absolute best for their furry companions. Considering all these factors, the demand for pet bakeries is likely to increase in the near future.

Moreover, the rise of e-commerce in India is a boon for pet bakeries. Lohia says, “Discoverability becomes easier for pet parents. With just a click they can get information on all kinds of pet bakeries and products offered by them.”

Petfeast- This three year old Pune based company focuses on pet nutrition and gourmet food. They have a host of delectable products for pets ranging from freshly cooked daily meals, and birthday cakes to cupcakes, puddings, dog beer and treats.

Petfeast’s director, Sonal Zalkikar says, “The concept of natural pet food is growing in India as the demand for these products is increasing and people are aware of the fact that they cannot feed the same cakes and goodies to their pets that are meant for humans.”

She goes on to add that it is a growing segment within the pet industry offering huge potential in the years to come.

The Indian pet food market catering to dogs, cats, birds and other animals is likely to grow in the future. It comprises of a wide variety of commercial and home-cooked pet nutrition products such as veterinary diets, treats, snacks, plant based and animal based products as well as organic food products. Considering the rise in middle class income and a growing number of pets in the country, the pet nutrition industry is likely to embark on a steady growth in the near future.