There isn’t much people won’t do for their pets, and this sentiment has only strengthened over the past few years. In the U.S., 95% of pet owners currently consider their pets to be part of the family—up 7 points from 2007. This trend correlates with the growth of certain pet food segments, including healthy treats, specialty pet foods and other more premium options. Increasingly, pet owners are moving from expectations of “high quality (for pets)” to “humanized”; that is, they desire pet food options that address the same health concerns currently influencing human food production, such as unnatural preservatives and genetically modified ingredients—and they’re serious about these preferences.
Most pet owners don’t know their pets’ specific nutritional requirements, so they trust brands to formulate foods that have just the right mix of vital nutrients. Many manufacturers employ high-tech language—such as “scientifically formulated” or “scientifically advanced”—to provide consumers with sufficient reason to believe that the product will meet all their pets’ dietary needs.