A huge number of Brits have revealed they would consider purchasing vegan food for their cats and dogs.
That’s according to the Vegan Animal Care Report: Consumer Motivations, Barriers and Market Potential - a new report released today (15 March) by The Vegan Society which looks at growing consumer interest around vegan food and other products for dogs and cats.
The Pet Food Manufactures Association estimates that in 2021, almost 60% (59%) of UK households shared their home with a companion animal with 33% living with a cat or cats, and 27% living with one dog or more.
A survey, released as part of the wider report, asked respondents about the food they currently served, whether they were interested in vegan companion-animal food and what factors they would consider before making the switch.
Interestingly, 1 in 5 (20%) of those with cats said they had purchased vegan cat food in the past with 14% stating that they believed their cat was enjoying it. Almost half (49%) said that they would be interested in purchasing vegan cat food and of these, 32% said they would buy it as long as it was healthy and suitable for their cat, and 17% said they would consider it as long as it was cost comparative.
Meanwhile, 1 in 4 (24%) of those with dogs revealed they’d purchase vegan dog food previously, with 16% of those declaring the dog enjoyed it.
On top of this, 45% of those living with dogs said that they were interested in vegan food for their companion-animal. And from these, 32% said they would buy it as long as it was healthy, and 13% said as long as it was cost comparative.
Respondents were then asked about what considerations they would make when looking at making the switch or making future purchases. The most important factors were; taste tested (cats - 44%, dogs - 39%); more nutritional benefits compared to meat-based foods (cats – 39%, dogs - 38%), price promotions (cats – 36%, dogs 34%) and more nutritional information from animal experts (cats - 35%, dogs – 37%).
The publication of the report comes as a growing number of businesses have started investing in the development of vegan foods for cats and dogs. These meals replace your traditional animal proteins with protein-rich plants and other vegan ingredients, such as grains, lentils, rice, blueberries, carrots, peanuts and pumpkin. Fortification with vitamins and minerals ensures that the micronutrient needs of our animals are met. Though, the market is not as new as some may think. V-dog has been pioneering this category for over 40 years, and vegan cat food has been on sale in the UK for 18 years.
Louisianna Waring, Senior Insight and Policy Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “It's important to note that people with companion animals should seek to do what is best for them and any changes to diet should be considered with the utmost care and consideration. The Vegan Society’s latest report simply highlights the research that shows some of the ethical, environmental and health benefits that this growing industry could bring. It also provides new insights showing the public perception of the industry, barriers to purchase, and market potential for vegan cat and dog food – and beyond.”
As of January 2022, the Vegan Trademark has 171 animal care products registered under their standards, with around 50% of product registrations in the animal care category have come in the last two years alone (2019–2021), showing exponential growth in this category.
Vegan Trademark holders include Benevo, one of the UK’s oldest and largest cat and dog food brands, and Yarrah (whose vegan products includes dogs snacks and treats), Pawtato and Vegusto. Vegan dog toys by Hevea are also registered as are vegan grooming products by allPaws and Faith in Nature and nutritional supplements by Broadreach Nature and Flax Farm. In 2020, bECOsy became the first in the world to register dog and cat beds with the Vegan Trademark.
Vegan Trademark holder Benevo, founded in 2004, is one of the oldest and largest vegan cat and dog food brands in the UK. At present, they are one of the few businesses selling commercially available vegan cat food in the UK.
Andrew Knight, Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, and Director of the Centre for Animal Welfare, at the University of Winchester, responded to the report: “While we’ve known about the benefits of feeding cats and dogs a vegan diet for some time it’s really encouraging to see interest in this area is on the rise. What this report shows is that both vegans and non-vegans understand that vegan cat and dog food can actually be a healthy option for their four-legged friends with a large number of respondents stating they are focused on the nutritional benefits compared to meat-based foods. For years I’ve been advocating for more research into this area and for that research to be readily available to people via their animal care provider.”
Darrell de Vries, co-owner of Benevo, added: “This is great news for companies like ours that have been creating high-quality and affordable vegan cat and dog food for 17 years now. We’ve worked hard to develop confidence and acceptance among consumers for such products and now see interest and excitement in vegan products and treats going from strength to strength. However, as more companies see 'plant-based' as a growing trend and launch new products, it’s really important to look for reputable brands like ours, that are registered with the Vegan Trademark, to ensure what you’re buying is suitable for your needs.”
Future Market Insights estimates that, in 2021, the global vegan dog food market was worth $12.22 billion while sales of vegan food for companion animals are expected to grow at an estimated 6.9% CAGR over the next decade. To download the report for free please visit: Vegan Animal Care Report 2022 Final.pdf (vegansociety.com).
To read more about the Vegan Trademark head to The Vegan Trademark | Trusted Vegan Labelling | Business (vegansociety.com).*Research was based on two UK surveys titled, “Your view”, conducted on Attest on 26th October 2021. One survey was answered by those with cats, and one survey was answered by those with dogs. Each audience as 500 people. Data was collected for age, gender and home region.