This is how COVID is driving the Indian pet food market

The Rs 4,000 crore market has grown at a CAGR of 30-35% over the past two years.

Love is no longer limited to red roses, chocolates or candlelight dinner dates. Many Indians now define love differently – with four paws, a tail and a wet nose. They are now opening their homes to pets.

While pets can eat some foods that humans can, their dietary needs often differ from ours. This paved the way for the pet food industry in India.

This segment has grown steadily over the past few years. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, pet food accounts for half of India’s entire pet care industry and is worth up to Rs 8,000 crore annually.

The report also mentions that dogs are the most popular companions – making up 85% of the country’s pets. North Indians have the largest number of pets, and South Indians like to keep cats and fish as pets.

The increase in pet food demand can also be attributed to pet ownership itself, which has increased following the nationwide lockdowns caused by COVID-19 in 2020. Individuals who choose to keep pets also have more per capita disposable income.

Salil Murthy, Managing Director, Mars Petcare India, backs up these points with numbers. Mars Petcare India has the majority of the market share in the pet food industry with brands such as Pedigree, Royal Canin and Whiskas. Murthy revealed that the Indian pet food industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the FMCG industry.

Murthy told afaqs via email! The pet food category is growing at a CAGR of Rs 4,000 crore in 2021, remaining at 30-35% for the past two years. The market grew 16% in 2019 and more than 20% in 2020, the pandemic year. In 2021, it will grow by around 30%.

“It’s because people are spending more time with their pets during lockdown. They’re adopting more dogs and stray cats, knowing they’re hungry, or donating food to NGOs, and many other factors. “

According to data provided by Mars Petcare, by 2020, 85% of the pet food market will be dog food and the rest will be cat food. People clearly understand that their pets need better nutrition and are turning to processed foods. This has led to accelerated growth in the pet food market.

“With the growth, e-commerce sales are also upgrading, with new sites like Petsym, Heads Up for Tails and Shakehands. Over the past two years, we have launched not only new products in the Pedigree and Whiskas collections, but also in India Launched the economy brand Chappi,” Murthy said.

Murthy revealed that when Mars Petcare entered the Indian market in 2004, there was little information on artificial pet food.

“Even today, most pet parents prefer home-cooked meals to manufactured pet food, even though the latter provides complete nutrition. In recent years, brands have focused on Category creation.”

The nutritional needs of pets vary by breed and also depend on the age of the dog, whether it is a puppy, adult, or senior. Mars Petcare has a sub-brand of dog food called IAMS Dog Food, which provides nutrition tailored to breed and age.

“Pedigree also has different products based on the age of the dog. People are also adopting cats more and more, and Whiskas has become a leading brand and a household name in the category,” Murthy said.

Rana Atheya, CEO and founder of pet product e-commerce sites DogSpot Meals and, quipped that the pet food industry is the only industry that differs from customers.

Most of the time, the consumer can’t give feedback on the food he or she has just eaten, he added. It takes someone who knows dogs very well to design foods that are nutritious and healthy for them.

Atheya founded DogSpot Meals to meet the growing demand for fresh and healthy food in the dog parent community. DogSpot Meals is a ready-to-eat whole meal. Atheya tells us that the bags are sold to make it more convenient for pet owners – they don’t have to carry heavy kibble or dry food packaging. They also don’t have to worry about storing them.

“Not only in India, this demand for pet health food is a global phenomenon. We have seen our sales increase by at least 300% since the outbreak of the pandemic,” Atheya said.

He also linked the increased demand for food and toys to an increase in the number of pets adopted during the pandemic. Previously, pet food and treats used to be produced in another country and imported into India, he added. We rely heavily on China, Thailand and Indonesia as import source countries, but now things have changed. Both Pedigree and Drools are made in India, although imported pet treats remain popular with frequent visitors to his site.

Drools CEO Shashank Sinha called the brand “Made in India” and “Made in India” and claimed that manufacturing gave the company an added advantage – on average, fresher food. This also has an impact on how products are priced. Imported pet food is subject to a 22% service tax – this cost is ultimately borne by the customer.

A 3kg pack of Drools puppy food costs 899 rupees and Mars Petcare’s product Pedigree costs 600 rupees. These brands have the largest market share in India. Drools has also worked with celebrity endorsers such as Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jacqueline Fernandes and Ananya Panday. It also sells delicacies promoted by chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Vikas Khanna.

In India, pet food brands are huge and don’t compete with each other, Sinha said. They are competing with the fresh treats pet parents prepare for their four-legged friends.

“Palatability is an important factor in pet food because if pets don’t like the taste, it’s a loss of money even if the owner increases their disposable income,” he explained.

According to Vineet Khanna, co-founder of Supertails, Gen Z and millennials have completely different attitudes towards pets. They see themselves as parents, not pet owners, and are more willing to splurge on food, treats and toys to pamper their pets.

According to him, the biggest challenge people face in the pet food market is information. Sources of information include the Internet, veterinarians, pet store owners and other companion pet parents. But it can be confusing for first-time pet parents – who account for about 60 percent of all pet owners in India.

“When it comes to packaged pet food, penetration in Europe is close to 90 percent, but that’s not the case in India, where pet food penetration is less than 10 percent. Dogs and pets also live longer on average,” Khanna added. .

He concluded that the average consumption size of home-cooked food is around $400-5000 million, while the pet food market is worth around $700-800 million.

Anushka Iyer, founder and CEO of, also agrees that Gen Z and millennials are more likely to become pet parents and invest in their well-being. “As customers turn to Google, online communities and veterinarians to better understand their pets, education at scale is required,” she stressed.

Most of the time, pet parents cook for their pets – which turns out to be a version of the human meal. When it comes to packaged foods, Iyer says, there’s a wide variety of foods on the market — from wet foods to dry kibbles, from super premiums to affordable complete meals to snacks.

“We foresee market growth driven by more specialized and personalized diets, as every pet, just like every human being, has its own unique nutritional needs. Our products are formulated in-house by our veterinarians and R&D team, to meet different nutritional needs,” she said.


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