Healthy Trends in Pet Food

People love their pets and are willing to shell out big bucks to keep them healthy and happy. It’s no surprise that trends in pet food flavors mirror those of their human counterparts: health-conscious, nutrient rich, and alternative proteins are popular selling points that are popping up in pet stores everywhere. “Our society’s relationship to pets has evolved over the decades, with dogs and cats now being beloved members of the family,” says Mary Emma Young, senior director of communications for the Pet Food Institute. “Whether it’s clean label, sustainability claims, functional nutrition or free-from claims, pet lovers increasingly look for labels and packaging that reflect their personal food philosophy and needs.”


Fruits and Vegetables


            Just like their human owners, fruits and vegetables are an essential part of any pet’s diet. Providing furry friends with the nutrients they need is an important aspect of their overall health. Pet foods and treats packed with fruits and veggies have been rising in popularity and loved by consumers and pets alike for their health benefits, enhanced flavors, and fun colors. Berries high in helpful fiber like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries have become a popular addition, while leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots are rich in nutrients like calcium and magnesium that keep pooches and felines strong and healthy.


Meat Alternatives


            While dogs and cats are, by nature, carnivores, consumers are discovering that the meat that vital to their pets’ diets doesn’t necessarily need to come from animals. Catering to environmentally-conscious consumers, manufacturers have been experimenting with everything from naturally fermented animal proteins to insects as an alternative for traditional meaty ingredients such as beef or chicken. While many of these products are yet to hit shelves, pet owners can be on the lookout for these sustainably created products later this year.


Ancient Grains


            The health and wellness trend has also extended to pet food as manufacturers are moving away from traditional fillers like soy, corn, and wheat which are thought to be hard to digest and may irritate allergies, towards rice and other nutritionally meaningful grains. Ancient grains like millet and quinoa have become a popular addition to dried food, and many manufacturers are using these healthy grains are  being used as a marketing point for health-conscious owners.