Look on shelves in any pet retailer and you will see multiple products marked, “Made in the USA” or “Ingredients sourced in the USA.” And with recent foreign-sourced ingredient scares, American-made products quickly are becoming a powerful sub-segment of the pet marketplace. Here’s what you need to know about this trending segment and its impact on your pet care brand.
Buying American isn’t just good for their pets, it’s feel-good for their owners too
When consumers buy pet products that are marked “Made in the USA” it makes them feel like they are impacting the greater good as well. 75% of consumers believe that buying products made in the USA is socially responsible[i], believing that buying American-made products helps to create jobs and contributes to economic recovery. As the U.S. economy continues to rebound from the Great Recession, buying American-made will continue to give consumers that “feel good” boost.
Pets are valued family members – and owners are willing to spend accordingly
Nearly 2/3 of all pet owners consider their pet to be part of their family[ii] – and do not hesitate to purchase specialty products, many of which cost more. And while brands may hesitate to produce products in the U.S. due to higher manufacturing costs, to today’s pet owner, Fido is “worth it.” Many pet brands are further capitalizing on this key fact, offering human-grade ingredients or even giving their products humanized names. Dogswell, which makes a variety of functional treats, recently launched an “Artisan Meats” line. The Artisan Meats line is made in the USA, and has product descriptors that you would see on many American menus, like “Deli Slices” and “Sliders.”
Labels are a key information source
Since 2007, the FDA estimates that it has received 3,600 complaints regarding foreign ingredients and pet illnesses, mainly around rawhides other pet food treats from China. In 2013, the FDA formally issued a warning against any pet food treats made in China[iii].
As a result, consumers are paying close attention to what is on pet labels and looking for key call-outs, such as, “Made in the USA.” In fact, pet owners cite product labels as the most-often used source of information when purchasing new pet products. Pet brands can capitalize on this fact by prominently featuring, “Made in the USA” on their labels and packaging, if the claim applies.
So what does this mean for your pet brand? “Made in the USA” claims are just one part of a strategic product marketing plan, and brands should keep in mind that it is not the only factor that will guarantee success. And while it is mainly being used in the pet food and treat space currently, we expect it to quickly pop up in the toy and durable goods area, as consumer sentiment continues to favor American-made pet products. By monitoring this trend, pet brands can stay well-informed and make strategic decisions on their sourcing and manufacturing locations.
To learn more about pet and animal health care marketing, and how Martino Flynn can make your brand a success, please contact Rose Feor at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 585.421.0100.
[i] MINTEL, American Made Matters, October 2012
[ii] APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 2011-12
[iii] MINTEL, Pet Supplies, U.S., June 2014