With a pet population estimated at more than one million there are ample opportunities for pet food and pet care retailers in the Irish market. Euromonitor estimates that in 2015 sales in the dog food market were worth €85 million, cat food would reach €48 million and the ‘other’ pet category (birds, rabbits, guinea pigs) was predicted to come in at €7 million. This translates to more than €2.5 million spent per week on pet food in Ireland in 2015 (www.euromonitor.com).
Research has shown that 98% of dog owners give their dogs treats and 42% are doing so on a daily basis. Brand loyalty is also evident, with up to 73% of pet owners saying they would not purchase an alternative product. (www.shelflife.ie/putting-petsfirst/#ixzz46w4fNbxe/Neilsen)
The strongest performing categories are expected to stay the same with economy and premium dog food remaining in demand. Due to the economic crisis, many families have turned to cost-effective dog food, while, at the other end of the spectrum, a growing number of consumers are turning to premium brands as pet humanisation continues to be a growing influence.
One study by James A Serpell on How Social Trends Influence Pet Ownership (http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/information_ sources/docs/28102013-5-james_serpell_en.pdf), speculates that people are using non-human social support to compensate for a breakdown in traditional social support systems due to urbanisation.
Opportunities for Irish private label?
Quantitative easing within the Eurozone could create an advantageous situation for Irish manufacturers and retailers of private label pet food for other pets such as rabbits, reptiles, birds and guinea pigs. According to Euromonitor, this is due to the fact that UK imported goods are becoming more expensive to Irish retailers and therefore to Irish consumers as well.
Leading pet suppliers
An example of an Irish pet food supplier that is benefiting from the growth in demand is Chanelle Pet, a supplier of pet accessories, pet food and pet health products. Chanelle Pet says it offers a high quality range that extends to over 5,000 products from leading brands such as Trixie, Flexi, Kong, Armitage and many more. The company’s pet food range is constantly expanding and now includes key brands such as Royal Canin, Burns, Gain Feeds, Prince Grain Free Range and Nestlé Purina.
Chanelle Pet employs almost 400 staff in Ireland in its headquarters located in Loughrea, Co Galway. Through its parent company, Chanelle Pharmaceuticals, it also provides a range of flea, tick and worm control products for dogs and cats from key brands like Exitel Fleatix and Troscan. The company has a 24-hour delivery service and a dedicated customer service team including on-the-road sales representatives countrywide along with an in-house sales team processing orders and addressing customer queries.
Part of the family?
Pets are now seen as family members and companions especially among older people and family units, and their health and happiness is important to their owners. With 20% of Irish households owning at least one dog, and 14% having at least one cat, there is a clear market for other areas such as accessories, pet care and grooming. (www.fediaf.org/)
All the indications are that the opportunities for growth and the demand for products reflecting the importance of our pets is increasing in Irish society.
IRELAND’S PET POPULATION
416,000 – Dogs
20,000 – Fish
318,000 – Cats
150,000 – Small Mammals (rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs)
93,000 – Ornamental Birds
44,000 – Reptiles