Consumer trends and expectations: Vegan and other alternative pet foods

Robert Neumann |

In 2018, there were 600,000 vegans in the UK, quadrupling from 150,000 in 2017, according to The Vegan Society. The UK was also number one in terms of new vegan product launches in 2018, a trend that has continued into the pet industry.

Global trends such as population growth, increasing competition for protein sources, environmental degradation and farmed animal welfare concerns are all driving plant-based pet food development. However, lack of evidence of nutritional sufficiency is inhibiting their uptake, interfering with the ability of some consumers to adopt pet foods more aligned with their values and the ability of the pet food sector to fully realize the potential of this emerging market, while also reducing its environmental footprint.

To date, no systematic study has been published examining the prevalence of steps taken to ensure the nutritional soundness and quality of pet foods, and whether plant-based diets have lower standards in these respects.

Andrew Knight, Ph.D., professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, and founding director of the University of Winchester Centre for Animal Welfare and his team surveyed pet food manufacturers producing 19 meat-based and 10 vegan, almost vegan or vegetarian pet foods. Their findings indicated acceptable or superior standards at nearly all stages examined, and also the need for companies and regulators to implement a comprehensive range of best practices and communication models to reassure consumers about the nutritional soundness of products.

Knight will present his findings on June 4, 2021, during a virtual seminar presented by Petfood Forum Europe.

Emerging Pet Food Nutrition Trends

Petfood Forum Europe presents Emerging Pet Food Nutrition Trends, a virtual seminar scheduled for June 2-4, 2021 during Interzoo Digital.

This free seminar, consisting of three sessions of 30-40 minutes, will provide new research on evolving protein sources for pet food. At the end of each session, attendees have an exclusive opportunity to ask the expert their own questions, to better understand how to apply the research to their own company’s business model.

Emerging Pet Food Nutrition Trends is sponsored by Extru-Tech Inc., Reading Bakery Systems and Schenck Process.

About the speaker:

Andrew Knight, Ph.D., is a professor of animal welfare and ethics, and founding director of the University of Winchester Centre for Animal Welfare in the U.K. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University in Queensland. His degrees and certifications include EBVS European and RCVS Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law, American and New Zealand Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare, Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and Principal Fellow of Advance HE.