Gourmet brands lead the market

THERE’S profit in those pampered pets: the value of petfood sales is increasing, while volumes have fallen, because animal lovers pay more for premium products and those brands continue to grow.
Peter Brame, senior pets buyer at wholesaler Bestway and Batleys, observed: “Cat owners are more likely to trade up, choosing Sheba A La Carte, Whiskas Tasty Textures, Felix Sensations and Gourmet Gold. Nestlé and Mars are the key players, using luxury branding and packaging: pouches, alu-trays and domes.”
Dog food volumes have fallen because of the shift towards ‘multi-serve’: cans which contain more than one serving. Owners are also using a lot more dry food, using wet as a topper, he said.
“Dog treats are a big impulse purchase,” added Brame, “and so well worth displaying well at till points.”
He advises c-stores to look beyond pet food. “Cat litter, for example, can be an extremely profitable addition to the mix,” he said.
“Other popular animals are rabbits, guinea pigs and – increasingly – wild birds. Brands that independents could consider include Wagg’s Bunny Brunch and Guinea Pig Crunch.
“Fish food is also an ideal product for c-stores to stock. As it’s not bulky, owners are more than happy to pick it up from their local store, which they tend to visit on foot. The same rationale applies to bedding for small animals, be it straw, or chippings. They’re full of air and very light, so again shoppers think nothing of carrying it away.”
For wild birds, Brame namechecks Nature’s Feast and Peckish, which is now TV advertised. “Accessories that don’t take up too much space are also perfect for c-store shelves. Webbox do a great range in suet and fat bowls,” he said. Winter provides the key opportunity but there’s also summer food to attract birds in the warmer months.
To help c-stores maximise petcare sales, Mars Petcare’s PetProfit.co.uk website provides a range of materials and information for store managers. Pet shoppers are some of the highest spenders in convenience stores – spending 50% more than the average customer – yet 77% of pet owners don’t purchase their pet food in their local shops, the firm says. The website includes information on trends, planograms and point-of-sale material – to order free, or to download and print straight away.

Retailers can download pet care merchandising materials from petprofit.co.uk/pos