Dog food owners


To understand why dog owners switch the dog food they buy or the main reasons they they change to a different dog food brand. This is to inform a strategy for an acquisition.

Early Findings

Nutrition Concerns

  • "U.S. consumers are concerned about their pets' nutrition. According to Gartner L2 analysis, Google keyword searches on "raw" rose 32% year over year in July 2018, while dietary-related searches grew 5% and healthy/all natural by 2%."
  • "Nielsen also found a 68% increase in dollar sales of dog food with raw food claims in 2017, and for the year ending March 2018 probiotics drove a 139% sales increase and non-GMO pet food a 29% increase."

Dog and Pet Owner Purchasing Habits

  • Research indicates that "consumers around the world balance buying premium items with hunting for bargains, and that also appears to apply to pet food, based on surveys of US pet owners." A survey by Euromonitor found that "US consumers favor bargain hunting over buying fewer, higher-quality things, almost two to one."
  • A survey by Packaged Facts, found that "34 % of US pet owners are spending less on pet products because of the economy." The report went on to say, "for pet owners, economizing often involves strategic retail behavior including trading down across channels and brands, shopping multiple channels for bargains and increased usage of coupons and private labels, all of which serve to suppress overall retail dollar performance.
  • "Both dog and cat food buyers tend to purchase average-priced products." The Packaged Facts survey also found that the "majority of US pet owners said they spent less than US$50 on their pets in the previous month. This, despite the fact that growth in premium pet food products is driving the overall growth in the US market, which was at 4.4 % for 2017.
  • "A December 2016 Packaged Facts consumer survey found that 28 % of US dog owners use commercial pet food toppers, mix-ins or gravy/sauce products". This is because some pet owners wanted to take a more personal, hands-on approach to feeding their pets but often turned to using products like toppers, mixers and sauces to help them prepare meals.

Preference for Online Shopping

  • In a 2018 survey of U.S. dog owners, "44 % of respondents noted that they had bought dry dog food online in the past 12 months. Pet treats and chews were also a popular category to purchase through e-commerce channels." Nielsen also found that "21% of pet food sales occur online and 25% of US consumers say they are more likely to buy pet food online than in store."
  • "In 2018 over 13,200 households in the U.S. bought pet products online."
  • "According to a consumer survey, the leading motivations for shopping online for pet products include convenience, competitive pricing and increased value for money with the offer of free shipping. "
  • Packaged Facts also reported that 19 % of US dog owners had dog food delivered regularly to their homes in 2017.

Leading Dry Dog Food Brands

  • "Within the pet food segment, dry dog food is the highest selling product type. After private label, Pedigree is the leading brand for dry dog food according to sales figures."
  • "In 2017, Pedigree and Purina Dog Chow were the two leading named brands within the American dry dog food market, accounting for 10.9 and 9.4 % of the total market respectively. This equated to sales of around 549.5 million U.S. dollars for Pedigree and 474.6 million U.S. dollars for Purina Dog Chow in that year."


  • For the initial hour, we tried identifying as many insights and statistics as we could to understand why dog owners switch the dog food they buy or the main reasons they change to a different dog food brand.
  • Based on the research, it appears that U.S. dog and pet owners are showing a higher preference for raw or healthy pet food, they opt for private label dry dog food, they like finding good bargains, the convenience of online shopping, and home pet food deliveries. These factors are likely to influence their purchasing decisions and why they might opt to switch to a different dog food brand. Please let us know if there are additional insights we should explore further.
  • In the course of our research, we also came across some trends that are driving the growth of the pet food market and also found some insights on millennials influencing the growth of the U.S. dog food market, which might be a research path of interest.
  • We also found that Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Nutro, Merrick, and Hill's Science Diet were the top visible natural pet food brands that appeared on an organic search.
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Research proposal:

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