Paradox: Natural Pet Food Sales Growing Faster Than Human Ones


Photo montage credit via Papageien Backerei.
Germans haven't allowed economic turmoil to put a dent in their organic food purchases, according to market research group GfK - 94% of German households made organic food purchases in 2009. That strong support of organic may be the reason a wacky business idea called Parrot Bakery with its organically-grown parrot treats has succeeded in spite of recession, according to Spiegel International. In the U.S., the situation's a bit different. Organic food sales have taken a bit of a hit, while natural and organic pet food sales are prospering.
Palm-oil muffins, organic nut balls
The Parrot Bakery, or Papageien Baeckerei, serves up some surprising and spendy treats for the well-heeled parrot, including palm-oil muffins "high in betacarotene" and available in a variety of flavors including banana, carrot, and coconut, at a cost of 3 Euros ($4) for a package of 10. And then there's the "Funny Food Stick" with its mixture of nuts, seeds, ground corn and red beet powder, ringing in at a hefty 17 Euros ($23) per stick. "Only the Best for Your Parrot" is the company's motto. According to Spiegel, the Parrot Bakery's owner Maria Grabowski has found sustantial success with her organic product line, supplying to pet stores all over Europe.

Coddling of pets with organically grown foods and treats is becoming a big business, with "natural" and organic pet foods expected to show $2.6 billion in sales by 2014, up from about $1.7 billion last year, according to the Boston Globe.

Sites like the OrganicPetBoutique have sprung up to cater to pet owners that want the best for their pets, especially since the recent pet food scare when toxins in the food led to some pet deaths.

Though that may reverse, human organic food sales aren't enjoying exactly the same strong sales growth. Organic food and beverage sales in supermarkets declined 0.3 percent in 2009, the Chicago-based market research firm Mintel International Group estimated, and Mintel said it expects organic to recover in the 2010-2012 time frame, but not to the previously robust 17-20% growth rate prior to the recession. Organic food sales are expected to be around $24 billion this year.

One reason for the decline in organic sales for human is that when recession hit, many dedicated organic shoppers switched to less expensive "natural" food brands in order to save. These same shoppers, however, who may be forgoing big vacations in favor of staycations, seem willing to pay a premium for their pets as new products are coming to market. The Globe theorizes that staying at home means more time with our furry and feathered friends, and thus is leading to more pet pampering.

Read more about organic pet care at TreeHugger:
in the Forum.
Time to Trim Your Pet's Eco Paw-Print Says New Book
Should Your Pet Be A Vegetarian Too?

Tags: Animals | Pets | Urban Life