Sales of organic human food products hit their stride almost a decade ago, Package Facts said, and the assumption was that organic dog foods would ride the coattails of organic human foods. That didn’t happen because of several factors:
• Supplies of organic ingredients, such as fish and other novel proteins, and numbers of organic suppliers can be problematic for pet food makers aiming to take market share in the organic pet food segment.
• Higher-quality ingredients mean higher prices.
• The lack of federal guidance or regulations over what constitutes organic pet has forced marketers to adhere to organic label requirements for human food. “Rather than face regulatory scrutiny, pet food marketers may instead decide that it's easier to label a product “natural” and call it a day,” Packaged Facts said.
Despite these challenges, Packaged Fact reports that obstacles challenging pet food makers are beginning to diminish.
“On the human side, retailers Kroger and Costco have taken the extraordinary step of investing in farms to ensure long-term supply of store-brand organic products, and under Nestlé Purina, Merrick's well-established organic brand, Castor & Pollux, has gained access to the resources of one of the largest pet food producers on the planet,” Packaged Facts said. “As natural pet food marketers seek to distinguish themselves from the rest of the natural pack, offering organic options may soon become a next logical step.”