Customer demand for premium pet foods has led to a growth in single-serve units, especially in the cat food sector. “More and more cat owners are switching from multi-serve cans to single-serve pouches and trays in fact, cat owners spend more than twice as much on single-serve cat food than multi-serve in convenience stores,” says Harding.

Adds Tessier: “Convenience stores often stock more canned cat food than pouch, although sales data reveals that pouch cat food is increasingly leading the way in terms of pet care sales share (21% share for pouch versus 13% for can).

top tips

While most pet care sales in convenience stores come from cat and dog food, it’s important to remember our smaller furry and feathered friends. According to IRI figures, small mammal, fish and bird care products make up 3% of value share of the pet care category, justifying space in your store. 

Wagg trade sales director Ben Anderson advises retailers to have some small pet food and treats on shelf. “The small animal food market is performing as strongly as ever,” he says. “Although it’s a comparatively small segment of the market, there’s still huge demand for small pet care products.” 

He recommends dedicating space on the pet care display to 2kg bags of Bunny Bunch and Guinea Pig Crunch, while saving some room for treats such as Carrot & Apple Bakes.






“Retailers should respond to this by delisting their weakest selling can lines this in turn will free up more space for pouch cat food lines to really drive those sales.”

Cans of dog food are also on the decline, points out Harding. “Tinned dog food is the biggest selling section, with a sales value of £82m (IRI to January 1, 2011), but it is in decline, while complete dry dog food is growing and outperforming the pet food market with a sales value of £23.5m (+1.9%),” he says. “In order to capitalise on this retailers need to stock a combination of both.”

According to Mars Pet Care, changing attitudes and animal feeding habits mean customers are buying several formats. Says Tessier: “Many owners prefer the convenience of dry food, while others will always look to wet food for their pet believing this to be the food their pets most enjoy. The move towards premium foods means that owners are increasingly looking to both wet dog and cat foods to provide their pets with the variety they desire,” adds Tessier.

“But enjoying the convenience of dry pet food and the role it plays in providing a balanced diet, pet owners are reluctant to stop using dry formats altogether. As a result of this growing awareness, we are increasingly seeing a trend towards mixed feeding patterns particularly in the dog food market, where a massive 55% of dog owners are now feeding their dogs a combination of wet and dry food.”

Read more:
Cash in: Pet care - Leading role
Cash in: Pet care - An extra treat
Cash in: Pet care - Range advice
Cash in: Pet care - Ones to watch