Pepper Peng
Pepper Peng is a Food and Drink Research Analyst at Mintel.

Family gathering dinner is an essential part of the Chinese New Year, many Chinese pet owners have prepared a special meal for their pets as well. Festive food designed specifically for pets are gaining traction among the young generation on e-commerce platforms.

With growing urbanisation, space and time for pets may not be that enough as before. Owners are paying more attention to their pets’ emotional wellbeing as an organic part of holistic welling. Thus, such pet food for special occasions or festivals are the perfect choice to increase interactions between owners and their pets.

We’ve seen a couple of innovative trends over the past 2 years which are related to the rapid growing Chinese pet market. Mintel forecasts that the total retail market value of dog and cat food will have a 13.9% of five-year CAGR while the total retail market volume will have a CAGR of 10.8% for 2021-2026. *

Functional and nutritional claims are still dominant

Dairy food for pets is experiencing high-speed growth, owing to its nutritional benefits. Launches of pet milk and pet yoghurt believed to contain higher nutrition as well as ice cream, aimed at pet indulgence, are growing.

Besides, customised pet food is seizing the opportunity. For example, Mr. Himi offers fresh raw pet food and Myfoodie offers gift cards for customisable staple food.

Humanisation is going further in snack formats

Popular packaging formats in human food, such as individually packaged functional candy, liquid pods and mystery boxes, have been observed in the pet food market.

Mintel in 2020 has already discovered that 49% and 32% of pet owners consider pets as their friends or children respectively. Owners treat them like humans from an emotional point of view. Inherently, we can find that there are more and more humanised pet food which owners want to share joy together with.

What we think

The number of pet owners in China, especially young and senior pet owners is growing exponentially,  which is good news for the entire pet food industry. In the short term, one way for brands to stand out in the face of fierce competition is to engage professional resources proactively (such as veterinarians, scientific research institutions) to meet the needs of consumers seeking information on scientific feeding. 

In the long run, how pet owners and pets can better enjoy city life together (including healthy eating and lifestyle) is also something that brands need to consider. 

* Market size of pet food here includes wet and dry food for dogs and cats only and exclude pet supplements.