Wiley’s Tony Johnson and Rachael Hedges attended the 2021 New Zealand Pet Food Conference, held in Queenstown to learn more about the industry as it hits rapid growth forecasts.
With 200 industry representatives in attendance the conference is the largest event New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers has hosted. This is no surprise, considering the New Zealand Petfood market is exploding with significant investment across industry. Here the pair share insights from the conference for manufacturers to take into consideration when considering facility investment.
Pets are often considered part of the family. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that their human owners are becoming increasingly interested in what they feed their beloved animals and where the ingredients herald from. Pet owners are becoming younger, bringing with them a range of new trends and preferences to be aware of.
One such trend is that e-commerce platforms for purchasing petfood is finally here and will stay due to the growing confidence of e-commerce purchasing by the consumer.
Industry is seeing many “Pet Parents,” especially amongst millennial’s and hence growing the market and the need for “humanisation,” which means two things;
- The pet is truly a member of the family and treated as such,
- Human food grade is expected in the pet’s diet and nutrition – this will change and shape the way we engineer our petfood factories and processing in the future.
The time it takes for human food trends to reach and influence pet food trends is dramatically decreasing. Previously, it had taken approximately 5-8 years, now it is approximately 1-2 years with a rapid uptake on quality and standards.
Alternative proteins and plant–based pet food appeared in a number of discussions and will certainly be an area to watch in the future as manufacturers work to meet evolving consumer demand. Plant based proteins are now being seriously considered and researched over animal-based proteins and/or a mixture of both as a more sustainable alterative and appear to the growing vegan and vegetarian population.
Consumer demand is driving a more considered eco-friendly and sustainable approach by manufacturers.
Exports were also a regular discussion point, the US market globally is the largest consumer by volume and value. China however remains number one for New Zealand for current exports and future growth. Beef exports to the USA from New Zealand has increased due to the perception of quality and the way New Zealand has handled COVID-19.
APAC is the fastest growing region in the world for pet food – mainly driven by China followed by Japan. With opportunities aplenty to export to the world with a safe, clean, green global brand and easy access to proteins, New Zealand pet food companies and manufacturers are well positioned to take advantage of these trends and hold the market share.