Targeted, Science-Backed Nutrition Drives Pet Food Growth

Glenn Polyn//July 1, 2022//

Tabby cat eats wet food. Gray background. Soft focus.

Targeted, Science-Backed Nutrition Drives Pet Food Growth

Glenn Polyn //July 1, 2022//

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The choice of what dog or cat food to feed your pet is an important one and finding the right complete and balanced food for them is one of the most important things you can do for your pet’s health. Over the years, we have seen that as pet owners are becoming more actively engaged, and informed, about the health of their four-legged friends, super premium pet foods with targeted nutrition are growing in popularity. In fact, super premium is currently the largest price tier within the total dog and cat pet food category, making up roughly a third of total dollar sales and growing at 13.6 percent.  

Consumers are looking for nutrition that not only tastes good but is also healthy to enable their pet to live their best life. Targeted nutrition formulas meet different nutritional needs depending on the dog or cat’s age, size, activity level and special needs, such as sensitive skin and stomach. In fact, three-quarters of dog owners think it is important to buy food formulated for their dog’s size, breed, life stage or other need. Four out of 10 pet owners say they “would pay more for a food that was made specifically for their pet’s nutritional needs.” Outcome based brands, such as Pro Plan and Purina ONE, drove 75 percent of the growth in super premium.  

Purina believes nutrition starts with understanding nutrients, not just ingredients. The best ingredients are the ones that work together to enhance one another’s performance. A smarter nutrient blend is more digestible and effective for a pet than a single ingredient.  That’s why the company doesn’t formulate its pet food on an ingredient basis, but instead measure how different formulations affect a pet’s overall health. Every ingredient in every Purina dog and cat food recipe was selected for a specific purpose, and with your pet’s health in mind. You can visit the company’s website to see pictures and read ingredient descriptions and benefits of every ingredient in every Purina food. 

For Purina, innovation should be pursued relentlessly, and the company always focuses on the pet’s nutritional needs, safety and well-being. Its innovation and product cycles are guided by research, and Purina employee’s apply their unrivaled scientific experience in pet nutrition, physiology and behavior to make new discoveries and push boundaries, creating real nutritional solutions that make a profound difference in the lives of pets. More than 500 scientists, veterinarians and nutritionists on staff work tirelessly to uncover breakthrough nutrition that helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives. This dedication to advancing nutritional science led to the Purina Institute, the global voice of Purina’s science, in 2018. The Purina Institute is pioneering the science of pet health. It is bringing a voice to research to reinforce the company’s commitment to nutrition, because science is more powerful when it is shared. As a global professional organization, the Purina Institute shares Purina’s leading-edge research, as well as evidence-based information from the wider scientific community, in an accessible, actionable way so veterinary professionals are empowered to put nutrition at the forefront of pet health discussions to further improve and extend the healthy lives of pets through nutrition. 

The result of focusing on science and research is a series of recent ground-breaking nutritional innovations like Pro Plan Calming Dry Dog Food, a dog food that contains an optimal ratio of EPA and DHA to support calm behavior, and Pro Plan Live Clear, a revolutionary cat food that reduces allergens in cat hair and dander by an average of 47 percent starting with the third week of daily feeding. The Pro Plan Bright Mind and Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity formulas both help fuel senior dogs and promote mental sharpness, and the new Purina ONE with Microbiome Balance formulas are shown to help balance bacteria in 28 days, promoting gut health, providing immune support and supporting your pet’s microbiome.  

As consumers go to your store looking for the targeted nutrition their pet needs, ensure your stores have the right assortment of science backed formulas your consumers are looking for. Retailers carrying the targeted dog and cat food products their consumers want are able to turn shoppers into loyal consumers who know they won’t have to look anywhere else to find what their pets need. 


Joe Toscano is the vice president of trade and industry development for Nestle Purina. He has worked with Nestlé companies and brands for more than 25 years, always keeping an acute focus on the pet category. He has developed a strong understanding of the pet category and consumer and has worked across all classes of trade focused on maximizing profitable sales for Nestlé and Purina customers.   


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