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What’s driving the pet nutrition market in India

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Ishmeet Singh Chandiok
Ishmeet Singh Chandiok
Ishmeet Singh Chandiok is the founder of Harley’s Corner, a ready-to-eat wet dog food brand launched in 2012, available online as well as offline.

The pet retail space in India is witnessing a dynamic shift, with wet dog food emerging as a significant growth segment

Pet retail in India is undergoing a significant transformation, mirroring the global trend of increasing pet ownership since the pandemic. However, according to a report by IndustryARC, there is a growing concern among pet owners regarding the nutrition and well-being of their furry companions. A notable segment within this evolving market is wet dog food, which has seen an upsurge in popularity and demand in the last couple of months. This surge is attributed to the heightened awareness among pet parents about the nutritional needs of their dogs.

What’s driving India’s pet care market

India’s pet care market, particularly the pet food sector, has been expanding at a brisk pace. According to a survey by independent research outfit Price360, the country’s economic growth has tremendously increased in the past couple of months and is expected to continue.

The rising disposable incomes and an increase in pet adoption have contributed largely to this growth. The pet retail space is no longer just about basic supplies but has evolved to include a wide array of nutritional, grooming, and wellness products, catering to the comprehensive needs of pets.

As per a report by Technavio, today, India is the fastest-growing pet market in the world, while being the seventh-largest market as well. Just in the dog food space, the market size in 2022 was Rs 3,200 crore and is set to grow to Rs 6,600 core in 2027, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.

Wet Pet Food vs. Dry Kibbles

Wet dog food, characterized by its high moisture content, is becoming a preferred choice for many pet owners. This preference stems from the multiple advantages that wet food presents. For instance, the higher moisture content in wet food is crucial for maintaining adequate hydration in dogs, particularly those that do not consume sufficient water on their own. Proper hydration is essential for the kidney and urinary tract health of canines. Furthermore, wet dog food tends to be more palatable and easier to chew, making it an ideal option for picky eaters, senior dogs, or those with dental issues. The enhanced flavour and aroma of wet food can stimulate the appetite of dogs that might be otherwise indifferent to dry kibbles. Additionally, wet food can offer a richer mix of proteins, vitamins, and minerals in a form that’s easier for dogs to digest, leading to improved overall health and vitality.

The growing segment of wet dog food in India also reflects a broader trend towards premiumization in the pet food market. Pet owners are increasingly seeking out products that are not just nutritionally adequate but also contribute to the health and longevity of their pets. This includes a demand for wet dog foods that are free from artificial preservatives, colours, and flavours, and made with high-quality, real ingredients.

Despite the benefits, the wet dog food market faces challenges in terms of price and storage. Wet food is generally more expensive than dry food, which can be a deterrent for some pet owners. Additionally, once opened, it needs to be refrigerated and consumed within a short period, which can add an element of inconvenience compared to the shelf-stable nature of dry kibble.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Preferences

The Indian pet retail space is adapting to these trends by offering a wider range of wet dog food options, including products that cater to specific dietary needs, such as grain-free, organic, and breed-specific formulas. Retailers, both online and offline, are expanding their assortments to include international brands as well as homegrown labels that focus on quality and nutritional value.

To further drive growth in this segment, manufacturers and retailers are investing in consumer education, highlighting the benefits of wet dog food and addressing concerns related to cost and storage. Marketing efforts are increasingly leveraging social media and influencer partnerships to reach a broader audience, while in-store events and sampling initiatives provide direct engagement opportunities.

The pet retail space in India is witnessing a dynamic shift, with wet dog food emerging as a significant growth segment. This trend is supported by the growing recognition among pet owners of the health benefits associated with wet food. As the market continues to evolve, it is expected that innovation and consumer education will play pivotal roles in addressing challenges and ensuring the sustained growth of this segment. The future of pet care in India looks promising, with a focus on quality, nutrition, and the overall well-being of pets shaping the industry’s trajectory.

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