If you thought that pet food is just about pouring kibble and opening cans, you’d be mistaken. The types of foods available, the way they’re made, how they’re labeled and packaged, and the ways in which they reach our hungry pets are constantly evolving. So, let’s take a look at some of the hottest trends in pet food. You might be surprised.
Pet Food Delivery
People have long enjoyed the convenience of home food delivery—everything from groceries and takeout to nutritious meal kits that you prepare yourself (think Blue Apron). Now the trend of meal delivery is available for pets too! Offering selection, convenience, and nutrition, fresh pet meals are gaining popularity; and brands like PetPlate, The Farmer's Dog, JustFoodForDogs, and Ollie are seeing a spike in orders. In some cases, you select the menu items, and the vendor delivers all the ingredients needed to make delicious, healthy meals for your pet. There are also options available in which the vendor prepares the meals fresh and delivers them pre-made to your door. Either way, it’s a win for you and Fido!
DIY and Homemade Pet Food Recipes
Pet owners frequently supplement store-bought foods with home-prepared add-ons that boost the flavor and nutritional value of the usual kibble. If it can be stirred in, sprinkled on, or poured over pet food, some pet owner has likely tried it. In response, brands have begun marketing and increasingly broad selection of raw and dehydrated pet foods you purchase at the store and add as supplements to your pet’s regular meals. In addition, online recipes show you how to make nutritious meals or add-ons from raw ingredients at home. These alternatives not only strive to make your pet’s diet more interesting, but also to provide the nutritional benefits our pets’ canine and feline ancestors once enjoyed in the wild. Both trends are worth watching in 2018.
Editor’s Note: Check out Scarf’d, DIY pet recipes from Figo. Your dog will beg for more of these delicious Peanut Butter Dog Treat Macarons.
Pet Food Labeling & Packaging
The way pet foods are labeled and packaged is changing too. The clean label model has gained popularity over the past few years—suggesting that consumes want more transparency in labeling. The result has been shorter ingredient lists, fewer chemical ingredients, and more clearly labeled products. Now on the heels of clean label comes the essentialist model, which is a fancy way of saying, “tell me only what I need to know to make an informed choice.” Essentialist labeling allows for transparency, while emphasizing priority information only. Another trend that addresses demands for sustainability in pet food packaging is a decreased use of plastic in favor of more natural, eco-friendly substances.
Pet Specialty Bakeries
Another rising star in the pet food universe is that of specialty pet food bakeries. Fresh-baked, hand-decorated dog biscuits and treats made from natural human-grade ingredients are a great way to pamper your pet. And brands like Barkfield Road and Le Marcel are raising the bar for gourmet fresh-made pet treats that look good enough for humans to eat. Check online to see if there’s a specialty pet bakery in your area.
Pet Food Tech
In this age of Siri, Alexa, and smart appliances, almost every aspect of modern life seems to involve some form of technology—and pet food delivery systems are not being left in the dark ages. Electronic pet feeders give you the flexibility of setting feeding times and portion sizes to suit the needs of your pets. Whether you’re simply looking for added convenience, or to help an obese pet find a healthier size, these high-tech gadgets deliver. There are even high-tech solutions designed to separate pets at mealtimes and to stop “food swiping” from more aggressive eaters.
Pet Food Review Sites
Say you want to see how the food you feed your pets stands up to the competition, or maybe you just want to know what to feed a picky pet. Pet food review sites like Dog Food Advisor and CatFoodDB combine expert reviews, articles, and user reviews to help you make more informed choices about the brands you feed your pets.
We all want to be sure our pets get nutritious, delicious food that’s safe and healthy. And today’s pet food marketplace is filled with new options and offerings. So, whether you’re looking for home-made freshness, increased transparency about ingredients, or a high-tech way to control your pets’ eating habits, chances are there’s a brand out there with a solution.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.