Do consumers care about sustainability in the pet food industry?

It’s no secret that sustainable products have become more of a priority for consumers and manufacturers in various industries over the past few years, including pet food. This could mostly be because it is younger generations like millennials who equate to the largest percentage of pet owners and people who have the biggest interest in being more environmentally friendly and sustainable.  

The most important factors behind pet owners’ food purchases are health and nutrition which can go hand in hand with sustainability as there are many nutritious ingredients for pets that don’t depend on irreplaceable resources. In fact, a study from 2021 revealed that 27% of pet food buyers would be keen to see more sustainably sourced pet foods on the market. This shows that a growing percentage of consumers are interested in sustainability within the pet food industry and expecting manufacturers to do more in response to issues surrounding the environment and climate change.  

Where do consumers stand on pet food sustainability? 

Attitudes towards the environment and sustainability have also changed since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. 48% of consumers in a recent survey said that the pandemic has made them think more about environmental impacts and worry about climate change. A further 55% revealed that their pandemic experiences has made them more aware and has encouraged them to purchase products that are better for the environment.  

Opinions have also evolved when it comes to what businesses can do to improve environmental conditions with a larger percentage of people feeling that companies should be doing more. This is applicable not just to human food production but pet food manufacturing too.  

Is the pet food industry sustainable? 

As mentioned above pet owners always prioritise the nutritional value and healthiness of the food they give their animals, but sustainability is taking on a larger role in this according to recently conducted global research.  

For example, in the US, there was a massive 110% increase in sales of pet food products that were ‘certified human raised and handled’. Ethical products have also seen a growth of 48% and products labelled as ‘cruelty free’ increased by 10%. This shows that people are starting to care more and more about where their pet food comes from and the difference, they are making by buying better products.  

Sustainable packaging is another concern for modern consumers as a survey highlighted that over 60% of people would be open to paying more money for pet food in sustainable packaging. Also, the majority of people surveyed feel that pet products should only be made by companies that focus on sustainability and make environmentally friendliness a priority.  

With this undeniable evidence that pet owners are demanding sustainability, manufacturers and other businesses within the industry have been working on new ways to be more sustainable with their products. One of the big ways they have done this is by focusing on production of plant-based pet food and environmentally friendly packaging that can easily be recycled. 

How can pet food companies become more sustainable? 

Using environmentally friendly ingredients 

Pet food companies can become more environmentally friendly by utilising sustainable ingredients as much as possible. Sustainability in pet food production means minimising the use of limited resources as well as acting against other damaging factors like carbon emissions that have a negative effect on the environment.  

Using professional factory consultants like the team at FESS can help businesses in pet food manufacturing become more sustainable in their processes as well as helping them to increase their cost-effectiveness. 

Making pet food production more sustainable 

Food manufacturers can do more to ensure sustainability in their ingredients by: 

  • Looking at alternative ingredients to provide the nutrients animals need, particularly protein. These sources could be fish, insects, and unused animal cuts like organ meats. 
  • Using more plant protein. For example, soybeans are very beneficial for animal feed due to their high nutrition and plant protein production being much better for the environment than animal protein production.  
  • Normalising feeding pets’ vegetables that are safe for them to consume. Despite what some people might believe, there are vegetables out there that are useful sources of nutrients for dogs and cats.  


So, what can be taken away from all this? Well, consumer interest in pet food sustainability has been increasing rapidly in recent years, which has only been heightened further by the pandemic. For pet owners, features like natural ingredients and sustainability are more important now than ever and if manufacturers aren’t already responding to this demand, now is the time to or they might find themselves left behind by competitors who have become more sustainable and environmentally friendly with their products. 

This is where FESS can help. As well as being experts in process and plant design generally, our team understand the pet food industry extremely well and can help businesses take action in a variety of ways to increase their sustainability, health and safety, reduce costs, and become more successful overall. Book a free site survey from us today to get started and find out the areas FESS can help you improve upon. 


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