SOURCE: Packaged Facts

Packaged Facts

June 16, 2010 10:21 ET

Procter & Gamble Acquisition of Natura Suggests Galvanization of Natural Pet Food Sales in Mass Channels

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 16, 2010) -  Procter & Gamble has already rocked the pet food industry in May 2010 by announcing plans to buy Natura Pet Products, a privately held producer of natural and organic pet food under brands including Innova, Evo, California Natural, Healthwise, Mother Nature, and Karma. But David Lummis, senior pet market analyst for Packaged Facts and author of the all-new market study Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition, believes the big news may be yet to break. "Based on Procter & Gamble's core distribution strengths and past history with Iams, I suspect that 2010 will see a key Natura brand cross over into mass channels, which would be a very big deal."

During 1999, Procter & Gamble purchased Iams. And shortly thereafter P&G expanded the brand from pet specialty to mass with tremendous success. According to Lummis' market analysis, the timing is right for a similar move with a Natura brand, for a number of reasons. Among these, some pet food consumers traded down during the recession and are now ripe for more affordable options in premium pet food, including organic and natural.

Bearing out this assessment is a survey of 1,881 consumers conducted by Packaged Facts in May/June 2010. According to the survey:

  • Approximately one-third (34%) of pet owners agree (strongly or somewhat) that they are "spending less on pet products these days because of the economy." However, the same percentage also agree with the statement "I anticipate spending more on pet products over the next 12 months."

  • Natural dog and cat food purchasers are even more likely than dog or cat owners overall to plan to spend more -- perhaps partially a function of the natural segment's often upscale demographics bouncing back more quickly.

  • A little price adjustment may be just what the doctor ordered for bringing more consumers into (or back into) the natural camp. "If natural/organic pet products were more affordable where I shop, I would buy them more often," agree over half of pet owners (51%), with only 23% disagreeing with this statement.

  • 39% of pet owners agree that they would buy natural/organic pet products more often if these products were more available where they shop, compared with 29% who disagree.

"What these figures tell me is that the time is ripe for a 'true' natural brand to enter the mass channel," Lummis says. "And now that Natura is, pending regulatory approval, under Procter & Gamble's wing, P&G is the perfect company to make that happen. If P&G does take a Natura brand mass, it would broaden the consumer base for natural pet food virtually overnight. It could also spur Mars to follow a similar path with its Nutro brand, and Nestlé Purina to consider acquiring a 'true' natural band of its own."

The complete findings of this survey -- which also details usage and consumer demographics of natural pet products across categories including dog food, cat food, natural/alternative litter, and natural flea and tick care products -- are presented in Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition.

Natural, Organic and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition divides the market into two classifications -- pet food and pet care -- with the latter defined as encompassing all nonfood pet supplies (cat litter, grooming products, pet supplements, clean-up products, etc.). For each classification, coverage includes historical and projected retail sales estimates from 2005 through 2014, competitive strategies and trends among key players, and trends in new product development including organic, human-grade, U.S. sourced, raw/frozen, and sustainable. For further information, please visit: http://www.packagedfacts.com/redirect.asp?progid=79235&productid=2161071.

About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. To learn more, visit: www.packagedfacts.com. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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