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Meteoric Rise of Grain Free Foods

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  • Meteoric Rise of Grain Free Foods

    Is the grain-free trend single handedly driving growth in the natural pet food category?

    That certainly looks to be the case, based on the numbers recently reported by New York-based market research firm GfK.

    According to the data collected from the company’s U.S. Pet Retail Point-of-Sale Panel, which represents more than 11,000 pet stores, dollar sales of grain-free natural pet foods grew by a healthy 24 percent between Oct. 2014 and Sept. 2015. Meanwhile, natural foods that include grains actually saw a decline in dollar sales—to the tune of three to four percent—over the same period.

    Overall, GfK says that grain-free foods (including those that are and are not marketed as being “natural”) grew by 25 percent over the 12-month span, reaching approximately $2.6 billion in annual sales ($2.1 billion for dog and $473 million for cat). Grain-free treats, in particular, had a strong showing within the category, posting an overwhelming 43-percent growth in dollar sales.

    As a result of all this growth, grain-free products now account for an estimated 34 percent of all pet food/treat sales in U.S. pet specialty stores, according to GfK’s data.

    While consumer preferences are clearly playing a big role in pushing the category to new heights, product marketers are certainly doing their part to continue feeding this demand with an ever-growing assortment of options. In fact, according to GfK, grain-free food and treats represented 45 percent of all new products introduced between Oct. 2014 and Sept. 2015.............
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