It’s estimated that pet parents in the U.S. will spend close to $29.88 billion on pet food in 2018, according to the American Pet Products Association. Compare this to the estimated overall spend on pets (at $72.13 billion) and it’s clear that we like to get the best for our furry family members.
However, as a modern day pet parent you might feel like you’ve been shelling out more per bag than you used to. You’re right; pet food prices have been on the rise. This, along with more “premium” pet food brands on the market has led to frustration. No one wants to sacrifice the quality of their dog’s food for a cheaper product, but are we getting the most for our money?
Let’s dig in.
The historic rise of pet food prices
A bag of pet food worth $20 in 2008, is now about 13% more expensive in 2018, ten years later. If we look at a span of twenty years (1998 to today) we see a 48% higher price. While these increases are less than the overall inflation rates during those time periods, people buying pet food are still seeing a difference at the cash register.
With the risks associated with homemade dog food, pet parents still need a way to get the best food on their budget. This is where the marketing of premium pet food comes in.
Are “premium” pet foods worth it?
We all want the best for our pets, and pet food companies are taking notice. There are more “natural,” “raw,” “organic,” or “freeze-dried,” pet foods on the market than ever before. As the graph below shows, we’re paying a premium for premium pet food.
However, as we’ve learned about the regulatory powers of the AAFCO and the FDA, we know that many pet food labels hold little meaning.
“Pet food is only as good as the ingredients in it—and the smaller, high-end companies are no more transparent about their supply chains than the giant corporations are,” says Deena Shanker for Quartz. In an article on premium pet foods, Shanker discusses the controversy surrounding “natural” pet food company Blue Buffalo.
The most expensive pet food according to data from GfK is raw. However, as the FDA has shared, “Compared to other types of pet food, raw pet food is more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.”
Affordable pet food is coming
Veterinarian Cailin R. Heinze says, “Some less expensive products may actually be better choices for your pet than more expensive options if the companies that make them have more experience or knowledge or do more testing of their products.”
At Wild Earth, we grow our novel protein source, Koji, on-site in fermentation stacks. This means reduced cost and environmental footprint compared to conventional pet food proteins. We’re committed to creating the best tasting, most nutritious, and safest dog food possible.