The increased amount of time consumers have spent at home during the COVID-19 crisis has led to increased engagement with pets, including cats. Indeed, this engagement has become particularly important in the context of the need for companionship due to the reduced opportunities for social contact resulting from measures imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The premiumisation trend continues to have a massive impact on the pet food industry despite the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, as cat owners continue to look for products with high-quality ingredients and high nutritional value in order to maintain their pets’ health. Dry food is generally considered to be better in terms of preserving nutrients, convenient for storage and, considering the steep prices, the longer shelf life of dry food is appreciated by consumers.
Mars New Zealand Ltd remains the leading cat food player and continues to dominate cat treats thanks to the widespread popularity and heightened visibility of Whiskas Temptations. Temptations has been prominently displayed and distributed in major retail channels, pet superstores and e-commerce which has enabled it to continue to gain in value share during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cat owners’ increased engagement with their pets during the COVID-19 crisis has served to reinforce the rising interest in natural foods, with owners becoming increasingly conscious of the ingredients used in pet food. During the forecast period, cat owners are expected to focus increasingly on ensuring that their cats receive the best nutrients from ethically sourced, natural ingredients.
The concept of sustainability has evolved during the pandemic, with consumers displaying heightened interest in environmental issues along with a growing awareness of the importance of supporting locally manufactured products in New Zealand. Although wet cat food has been causing concerns about recyclability with smaller pack sizes, freshness and portion control remain important to consumers looking to ensure that the food their cats receive retains freshness and a high-quality taste.
Consumer lifestyles have undergone potentially long-term shifts during the COVID-19 crisis. The shopping behaviours of New Zealanders have changed significantly during the pandemic, with the strict lockdown restrictions and desire for convenience and safety leading many new consumers to turn to e-commerce for the first time, while established online shoppers increased the range and frequency of their online purchases.
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This report originates from Passport, our Cat Food research and analysis database.
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