Australian Dog Treat Trends Report 2022 – and why it matters to you and your dog!
This is the most extensive Australian dog treat trend analysis we have done in years, ENJOY !
Our business and site focusses on healthy dog treats. And while we found a few sites simply cutting and pasting statistics about dog food, or corporate dog treats, there are very few Australian dog treat businesses looking at what actual natural and healthy dog treat trends are happening in Australia in 2022. And why 100% meat, is always better for your dog. So here goes.
Covid 19 saw a LARGE uptake in dog ownership in Australia during 2020 and 2021. The shelters ran out of dogs for the first time, ever.
Considering that there had been a steady decline in dog ownership over the previous five years, an increase in dog ownership might seem great.
Now in 2022 as some of the workforce is going back to corporate office locations, there is a surge in people surrendering dogs to shelters. And of those first-time dog owners who are keeping their dogs, they are often getting some very bad advice from vets, to only buy “vet recommended” treats. These treats are typically the ones that mostly large corporations bundle with the dog food that the vet sells. And that is the main reason for their promotion over real natural treats.
With the pet food market worth near $4B in Australia in 2022, things seemed to be heading in the right direction (more dogs and people looking after their dogs), but it turns out that there is still a large percentage of dog food imported from OS and America in particular. With logistic blocks because of covid and the Russian war in 2022, shortages of dogs’ regular food, has often meant changes in diet, or high price rises of what stock is available. The prices have little to do with the quality of the ingredients in the bags or tins.
While the two largest dog food manufactures in the world (American) also sell the two largest by volume and revenue “dog dental chew” treats in Australia, these treats are VERY low on anything that can be described as natural ingredients, and typically virtually no meat. They are an empty nutrition, calorie filled lab created treat for maximum sales through supermarkets.
I have found some articles on high end ‘vet recommended’ treats, and here is the skinny on this new invention. Yes, some include some super healthy ingredients, many with a large amount of meat and offal included with multiple ingredients. BUT these shiny “innovative packets” are sold in VERY low weights, for very high prices. You are not getting value.
Clever dog owners are understanding that they can often buy 2 or 3 kg of 100% meat jerkies or offal from shops like ours, for the price of 600g of these hyper-treats (spilt over three 200g bags of course).
Australian DOG FOOD and dog treat Market size trends 2022
The Australia map represents Google online search trends for “dog treats” for Mar to June 2022. It shows the relative demand or “interest by sub-region” by state (most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location, normalizing the top searches – NOT absolute numbers). It shows VIC at 100% (or the highest interest per searches was in VIC for that quarter out of all Australian states and territories). It shows that the second quarter of 2022 had these relative “dog treat” demands by state:
- Victoria 100%
- Queensland 99%
- Tasmania 94%
- Australian Capital Territory 92%
- New South Wales 88%
- Western Australia 85%
- South Australia 84%
The Pet industry in Australia was approximately $13 Billion in 2021. Ref 2
The Australian PET FOOD industry is worth approximately $4B of that $13B or about 30% of total pet spend.
Pet food manufacturing has grown 3.8% per annum since 2016, this growth will slow to 2.7% p.a annum until at least 2026 – depending on what the pandemic does (increase dog ownership for stay at home workers, or increase dog surrenders for people returning to a central office). “This pet food market growth is “attributed to increasing prices rather than the overall increase in pet populations.” Ref 2
The two competing forces in dog food sales is people economizing because of wage stagnation, inflation pressures – while at the same time more well-healed people are “becoming more educated and concerned over the well-being of their pets, leading them to opt for more expensive, high-quality foods.” Ref 2
Dogs population in Australia 2022 is approximately 5 Million ! The total pet population in Australia “dogs and cats, followed by fish, birds, and other small mammals and reptiles. “ is 29 million souls.
Dog food makes up 57% of all Pet food sales in Australia. Past research has shown that Dog treats spend is typically equivalent to 15% of dog food spend. This means that the total dog treat market in Australia is approximately $4B x 57% x 15% = $342 M.
On a per person basis, 60% of households have a pet in Australia, 40% of households have at least ONE dog . “dog owners in Australia spend $1,627 per dog per year (dog food 30%, vet services 20%, healthcare products 11% – according to the rspca), and cat owners spend $962 per cat per year.” Ref 2
“Australians spend the most on their pet food globally on a per capita basis. “ ref 1
How do the dog treat market stats align?
From the dog food estimate we found that the dog treat market was about $342 million per year in Australia. Looking at this from another statistic, If the ‘spend is $1627 per dog’, or which 30% is on dog food -that equates to approximate $488 per year on dog food per dog. Five million dogs makes the total dog food spend = $2.44 Billion. If dog treats is 15% then total dog treats market is approximately $366 M – in pretty close agreement with the previous estimate of $342 M.
Australian PET FOOD TYPE trends 2022
As history shows, yes we still follow AMERICAN dog food trends, but with a few years lag.
“Premium raw and fresh pet food still only accounts for 1-3% of the pet food market in Australia in 2021” (according to Meat and Livestock Australia)
It is expected that this might be one of the continuing fastest growing segments, with a current hiccup caused by logistic issues associated with covid 19, over 2020 – 2021. This raw and fresh dog food trend hiatus, led to people reverting to tinned and dry kibble.
But with many new first-time dog owners (those who retain their dogs in 2022) and new information on sites like ours, new feeding information might have them try more fresh and raw options.
Note, once covid restrictions, and inflationary pressures fall, it is expected that raw and fresh dog food might reach as high as 10% of the total dog food market.
“Dry pet food holds the biggest pet food market share in Australia, “ Ref 2
BTW – while people are familiar with DRY kibble dog food, and the new trend is for more fresh and prepared supermarket, even commercial subscription based fresh dog food deliveries, we see that many owners are missing out on the huge nutritional advantage of dry healthy dog treat options.
This it seems, is because while kibble dog food is often only around 30% meat content, many subscription based ‘fresh dog foods’ can be just as low in meat. Instead of dried grain in kibble, fresh options often add fresh rice or potato options. All those businesses have high profit pressures of their shareholders. NEITHER option has decent levels of meat for your carnivore based dog.
“There has been a rise in premium, healthy dry food options in recent years, dominating the market even further.” Ref 2 Yet based on carnivore dog theory, and the ease and benefit of easy to digest meat proteins for pet dogs, you would think it should be a given that dry dog food feeders would naturally gravitate to dry dog treats.
The main issue is breaking through the advertising clutter of the big players. Getting real information into the hands of owners, to make up their own mind, not just buying bland or average quality treats, because of the convenience of supermarket shelves.
“While many consumers are opting for healthier, fresh-food options for their pets, it’s difficult to beat the convenience and longevity of dry pet foods.” Ref 2. And further than that, properly dried healthy dog treats typically have a use-by of 12- 18 months (without preservatives) – when kept in ideal pantry conditions (no light, heat, or oxygen – ie kept in a sealed bag in your cupboard).
The functional dog treat trends 2022
While Google results are littered with dog treat recipes, most seem to be about making grain based biscuits, or fruit cocktails. Again, the cost and difficulty of handling raw meat and safely making nutritious treats, alludes most families.
Instead of buying healthier meat-based treats, some people are buying into the prepared subscription dog food trend, that can have as little meat in it, as kibble or canned dog food, but often at much higher costs. Great to have an intention to feed your dog better – but even better to actually do so, with meat protein and offal that you can see, and the dogs can enjoy the texture of ripping apart.
Did you know we offer a monthly subscription box of 100% meat based dog treat products here
“The growing importance of health and wellness considerations in human food has flowed through to dog food product offerings. Product features include weight management, antioxidants, protein supplementation, added vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fortification, and prebiotics. “ Ref 1
Lets see how healthy dog treats can just as easily perform these functions, without you changing your dog food.
Dog weight management
This is typically a function of KJ or Calories into your dog. Yes you can exercise them more, but the vast majority of owners struggle to do that, or to use a quality dog walker.
Very low fat treats are vital for obese dogs or dogs with pancreatitis, and we have healthy NATURAL version of low fat treats on our site.
But if your dog doesn’t suffer specific diseases, then you can substitute healthy MEAT based dry dog treats gram for gram up to 25% for the same amount as their kibble – without affecting the aafco nutrient minimum requirements.
Dog Antioxidants, added vitamins and minerals, prebiotics.
Antioxidants are important for owners and dogs. Most decent dry dog foods already have a bevy of plant-based Antioxidants added so adding more can be wasteful – particularly of they take up a significant amount of KJ, when your dog would be better served with KJ from protein in meat.
We have written many blogs about the over-subscription of minerals and vitamins artificially added to dog food just to reach the absurdly high aafco minimum requirements. We have said this, because no combination of natural meat or vegetable matter can reach the minimum requirements, so a natural preparation of meat and vegetables can’t legally be called whole and complete dog food. That is called an artificial monopoly.
This then means that if your dog does eat commercial dog food, THEY SHOULD NEVER NEED ANY EXTRA MINERALS OR VITAMINS added as a supplement or added to their meat dog treats. BTW, Meat already contains many of the minerals your dog needs …
We give our dog a human grade prebiotic from time to time – because dog versions are often too expensive AND too low a concentration.
DOG Protein supplementation
This is where quality meat based healthy dog treats clearly shine. With aafco dog food requirements set at an abysmally low 18% from any source (bio available or not) YOUR DOG needs meat based protein dog supplementation, daily.
DOG omega-3 fortification
Another big benefit from our dry meat-based dog treats. Kangaroo and fish dog treats are typically very high in Omega 3, and being an animal-based Omega 3 fatty acid – much more appropriate for your dog than flax seed will ever be.
One dog site says that the trend for upscale dog food can be attributed to “overall increase in the population of pets, the rise of dual-income families with no children, and high disposable incomes. “ Ref 1
But what if owners are just more educated, doing more research, not just buying from the top 3 American dog food makers that dominate the supermarket shelves?
They say that: “the shift in pet ‘ownership’ to ‘parenting’ has been a very crucial and defining trend in the market. Traditionally, pet owners feed their pets the leftovers and scraps from family meals. However, consumers are now becoming aware of pet food that consists of essential nutritional elements for the well-being of their pets.” Ref 1
Owners are also beginning to understand that dog physiology (dogs coming from carnivore wolves, not from primates like omnivore humans) means they don’t have to accept the high grain or potato-based dog food options from the majors as their dog’s main nutrition intake.
“ The preservatives added in wet dog foods, such as Sulphur dioxide and sulfites, cause thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency in pets to result in severe neurological symptoms and be fatal. Henceforth, consumers prefer dry pet foods that are less in preservatives.” Ref 1
NONE of our 100% meat or offal products have any preservatives. Our healthy dog treats 100% range (the vast majority of treats we sell, except biscuits) are dog treats that have not just less, but NO preservatives, additives or colouring.
“Premium dry as well as wet dog and cat food in 2021, as consumers opted for the best nutritional options for their fur babies. Treats are expected to grow strongly as consumers are using these products to engage and interact with their pets as they spend more time at home. “ Ref 3
We get the strong desire to humanise our dogs. We give our dog all of the creature, and human comforts we can. But we still base his diet on being a carnivore dog. That means both for main meals, and for treats, even during dog walks.
Euromonitor picked up on the increase in treats expectation saying “The growing popularity of treats for rewards, training and bonding, is leading to innovations in the category” ref 3
“Nature-inspired diets for pets are becoming popular in the region as pet parents are increasingly conscious about ingredients used in pet foods.” Ref 3
It’s a shame that they just can’t mention the word MEAT – and instead opt for the euphemism “nature inspired”. Others call it an ‘ancestral diet’, or ‘evolutionary diet’ – but essentially its meat, offal and bones, in the right proportions.
“Australasian pet parents are investing in premium varieties to uplift the culinary experience for their pets while focusing on nutrient formulation with combinations of high-quality protein, natural sources of fibre, and probiotic blends to maintain optimum health and wellbeing.” Ref 3
Here is the thing. If your dog likes its dog food, wet or dry, and they seem to be externally doing well on it, their energy levels, and stool formation … we suggest its fine for you stick with it.
We know that “premium dog kibble” that is still well under 50% meat (and so, low on animal protein), but can cost as high as $30 a Kg. So even if you decide to buy premium kibble, unless you are buying the 80% meat options, you are not going to ‘move the needle’ on their animal protein requirements.
You are much better off financially, and your dog healthfully, supplementing with 100% animal jerkies of your choice.
With meat-based dog treat water content typically as low as kibble (10%), that means that most of the KJ they will be consuming from quality dried meat dog treats will be from quality meat protein. There is NO FILLER.
Your dog won’t need to eat as much “supplementation”, and you won’t be at the mercy of some corporate chemist who has done their level best at formulating a snack that your dog loves the taste of, but does very little heath wise.
Quality meat dog treats boost protein, omega 3, joint support and many other things. If you are going to go healthy, opt all in, by feeding true natural ORIGINAL dog food, meat based.
1 Australia Pet Food Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027) published February 2022
2 10 Australian Pet Food Industry Statistics to Know in 2022: Trends, Market Size & Analysis Jun 09 2022
3 euromonitor – Pet Food in Australasia: Exploring Growth in a Post-Pandemic Era. 8/6/2021