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(Updated 5/4/01)

Pet food market remains buoyant

THE PET Food Manuafacturers’ Association has published its annual report for the year 2000. As with the previous year’s report, this was posted on the Association’s own website to provide a readily accessible pool of data.


The year 2000 may have been one in which science fiction pundits of the past predicted that we’d be living on lunar bases, served by robots and not having to work in a utopian world society with no wars, strife or famine - but pets, apart from friendly alien life forms, were never mentioned. It is quite abundantly clear from the PFMA’s data that, although the year 2000 may not have lived up to the sci-fi predictions of the past, pets continued to play an increasingly important role in our daily lives.

Breakdown of Petfood Market for 2000
	                    Volume 	                  Value
	                    '000 tonnes	              £million
DOG FOOD 
Moist	             385	                      360
Semi Moist	         5.7	                      10.7
Complete Dry	     276	                      273
Mixers	             72	                      46
Treats	             47.2                  	  118.7'

CAT FOOD
Moist 	             429	                     556
Dry 	                74	                         151

BIRD FOOD 
Pre-packed domestic	 1.9	              3.3

Total 	           1290.8	                1518.7


It is interesting to compare the 2000 figures with those for 1999, although the figures show a consistent trend. In 1999 moist dog food topped the market with sales 402,000 tonnes sold, a market value of £387m, followed by Complete Dry with 268,000 and a value of £277m. Mixers and treats accounted for third and fourth place, with semi-moist foods again bringing up the rear with a mere 4.1 million tonnes sold at a value of £6.5m.


On the cat food side, moist food was again the most popular with 435,000 tonnes sold at a value of £555m, with Dry food accounting for 70,000 tonnes and a value of £135m.


Today, with the industry nourishing a large pet population and with around 90% of all pet owners feeding prepared pet food at least once a week, pet food is one of the most significant market sectors. The market for prepared pet food was worth just over £1.5 billion in 2000. Pet food offers the total daily calorie requirements for a pet in products which are easy to use and enjoyed by most pets. It will be interesting to see whether the impact of the devastating foot and mouth epidemic in 2001 will have any significant bearing on the feeding of prepared pet foods as opposed to raw meat and bones.


Growth of the market


Over the years, pet food sales have consistently increased. This trend is acounted for by increases n the pet population, a growing use of pet food as part of the overall diet, a greater variety of diets and he benefits and value for money that pet foods offer. However, prepared pet food accounts only for approximately 60% of the dog’s, and 65% of the cat’s regular calorific intake.


There are 7,900 people directly employed in the manufacture of pet food: 5,400 male employees and 2,500 female employees.


Pet Keeping Trends
Just over half of British households own a pet of some description, from dogs, cats and rabbits to the more exotic snakes and spiders. Dogs and cats have traditionally been the most popular British pets. Their population has remained fairly stable over the past six years and in 2000 amounted to 14.5 million. However, over the past 10 years changes in lifestyle and how households are structured has affected the relative populations of dogs and cats with the cat population gradually increasing to out-number dogs.


Dog ownership had shown a gradual decrease over recent years, with more people living alone, and with more couples both going out to work. Urban living and modern working lifestyles favour the free living, independent cat over the more dependent dog. Cat ownership is greater in the more urban South of England in owner occupied dwellings.

Population	      (millions)
Dog 6.5
Cat 8
Budgerigar 1.0
Rabbit 1.3
Fish 26.6
Gold 15.5
Tropical 7.82
Marine 0.24
Guinea pig 0.85
Hamster 0.8
Canaries 0.36
Other birds .81


• Dog ownership tends to be more popular in urban areas - 65%. 21.9% of dogs and 22.7% of cats lived in owned houses; 21.9% of dogs and 22.7% of cats live in local authority houses, and 13.1% of dogs and 13.3% of cats live in privately rented accommodation.
• Of the 24.4 million UK households, just under 50% own a pet. In 2000 the number of households owning pets was: Dogs: 5.1 million. Cats: 5.0 million.
• Of the households owning a dog, 79.2% have only one dog and the remainder have two or more. Of the households with cats, 59.9% have one cat and the remainder have two or more. The highest levels of cat ownership is in the 35-44 age group (27.8%). The highest levels of dog ownership is in the 45-54 age group (30.4%)
• The 2000 dog population is broken down into: Toy 6.6%, Small 22.8%, Medium/small 16.9%, Medium/Large 23.1%, Large 28.8, Giant 1.8%
• It has been estimated that approximately 57.9% of dogs are pedigree. The most popular breeds are: 1. Labrador Retriever, 2. Yorkshire Terrier and 3. German Shepherd 4. Jack Russell 5. Border Collie
• 92% of cats are moggies or “non pedigrees”


According to a survey carried out by the European Pet Food association, FEDIAF, there are currently 47 million cats in Europe, and 41 million dogs. Around 55 million European households own a pet In 1999, the US pet cat and dog populations continued their rate of annual growth. The number of pet cat increased by 2.3% to 72.6 million, while the number of dogs grew by 1.5% to 58.5 million. Statistics compiled by the US Pet Food Institute suggest that the growth in the pet population was from current pet owners, leading to a higher number of households owning more than one pet


Environmental Concerns


Concern for environmental and ethical issues has led to the development of various voluntary policies within the industry such as those concerned with the ingredients of pet foods. The PFMA also encourages the efficient use of energy (including reclamation) in the production of raw materials and packaging, and in pet food manufacturing and transportation.


The industry’s use of by-products from the human food and agricultural industries prevents the need for, and the costs of, disposal. It reduces the price of meat for human consumption and reduces the demands on the human food larder.


Under the Environmental Protection Act - Prescribed Processes Regulations, pet food manufacturers have to register their factories with their local authority and meet certain comprehensive standards.


According to the report, The PFMA supports:
• The efficient use of energy, resources and water for the production of safe, palatable and nutritious pet food.
• The minimisation of all waste that may arise from the manufacturing process, including packaging materials.
• The responsible design, operation and maintenance of processes and plants to minimise adverse environmental impact on the local community and, in particular, to:
• minimise emissions of harmful material to the environment
• minimise objectionable odours
• improve the appearance of manufacturing sites and premises where possible by means of landscaping and maintenance of buildings.
• The use and development of appropriate packaging, without loss of safety or technological efficiency. Thus, fewer demands will be made on irreplaceable natural resources and packaging can be disposed of in a way which causes minimum impact on the environment.
Schemes for the reduction, re-use, recycling and incineration of waste to reclaim energy are particularly important.
• The provision of labelling which is clear, unambiguous and not misleading to consumers about the environmental impact or otherwise of a particular product.


BSE concerns
The pet food industry often adopts policies which are ahead of legislation. For example, the long-standing PFMA practice of only using materials derived from animals which have been inspected and passed as fit for human consumption is now incorporated into the Animal


By-Products Order


PFMA member companies using animal material derived from the UK are recommended to only buy from and sell to companies registered under the ‘Animal By-Products Order’.


Another example of this positive approach was the PFMA policy towards certain bovine tissues in relation to BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encaphalopathy). In June 1989, PFMA members adopted a voluntary ban on the use of the specified bovine tissues. This was a precautionary measure prior to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’s introduction of a ban on the use of specified bovine offals for human consumption in November 1989 and a subsequent ban on their use in animal feeding stuffs in September 1990. The materials which are banned were previously called ‘Specified Bovine Offals’ and are now called ‘Specified Risk Material’ - these include the head, spleen, thymus, tonsils, brain, spinal cord, small and large intestines. The statutory requirements ensure that these materials are segregated and disposed of in a prescribed manner. Specified Risk Material also includes material from sheep and goats.


Individual member companies operate their own stringent in-house quality assurance policies.


These include strict specifications for material supplies, routine testing of all incoming materials and the use of vendor assurance schemes to monitor supply sources. Materials are sourced both at home and abroad. The UK is not self-sufficient and alternative sources include the USA, Canada, Australasia and various European countries. All materials imported must comply with the strict legislation laid down in the UK.


• The PFMA Annual Report 2000 can be viewed at the PFMA’s website: www.pfma.com