New research shows a third (34%) of UK dog food buyers believe it is good for pets to regularly have a plant-based meal instead of a meat-based one.
Mintel research found that, meanwhile, more than four in 10 (43%) dog food buyers believe it is healthier to limit the amount of red meat eaten by pets, than not limit it at all.
And it’s Britain’s younger dog owners who are most likely to give red meat the chop, as almost three in five (58%) dog food buyers aged 16-24 believe it is healthier to limit red meat in their dogs’ diets, compared to just 30% of dog food buyers aged 45+.
Similarly, four in 10 (40%) dog food buyers aged 16-24 are in favour of regularly dishing up plant-based meals, compared to just 21% of owners aged 55+.
Mintel research reveals that digestive health is also high on pet owner’s priority list, as three-quarters (76%) of cat/dog food buyers believe that actively looking after pets’ digestive health is essential for their overall health.
They are joined by 44% who believe that pet food with ‘good bacteria’ (such as fermented foods) is good for pets’ health. This comes as 42% of pet food buyers consider their pet a “foodie”.
Overall, seven in 10 (71%) pet food buyers say that a pet’s diet has a direct impact on its emotional wellbeing, while half (51%) show an interest in food with calming ingredients such as chamomile and hemp.
Emma Clifford, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, said: “Our research finds that many pet owners are keen for their cats and dogs to adopt some of the alternative diet trends that are being embraced by humans.
“The fact that a third of dog food buyers agree that it is good for pets to regularly have plant-based meals is a key example of the considerable scope of the humanisation of pets trend.”
She added: “The growing interest in plant-based diets among the population as a whole has a lot to do with this trend extending to our four-legged friends. Digestive health is also on pet owners’ radar, mirroring the fact that most UK adults agree that gut health is essential to their own overall health. We expect the humanisation trend to continue, as consumer interest in functional and all-natural pet foods is likely to increase.”