April 1, 2016

Cat treats are growing in popularity as consumers realize that their pets are just as inclined to be trained as they are to be delighted with delicious treats. This is a category that continues to expand with delicacies to please even the most finicky of felines, with the big trends continuing a focus on single-ingredient and raw snacks. According to a 2014 report from Euromonitor, cat treat sales have quadrupled since 2000 from $12 million to $59 million.

Singled Out

Pet food companies are developing new single-ingredient products from new sources. The single-ingredient trend is here to stay and that means even the smallest retailers can save space by stocking treats that can be marketed to both dog and cat owners.

According to a recent Gallup News Service poll, over 17 percent of U.S. households own both dogs and cats, so it makes good economic sense to market toward both. One set of treats means less shelving space, more conversation and an opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of single-ingredient treats.

The Honest Kitchen offers Smittens, made of grain-free, wild caught haddock from the coastal region of Iceland; and Wonders, a pollock skin treat for dogs and cats sourced from the Faroe Islands.

“Single ingredient cat treats are gaining in popularity, as pet owners seek out simpler and more pure treat solutions for their animal companions,” said Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen.

“Ingredient purity and integrity is paramount; customers should seek out treats that are free of added chemical preservatives, artificial palatants and sweeteners.”

Loving Pets has recently expanded its line of U.S.-made boutique-quality treats, allowing pampered cats to indulge in single-ingredient beef lung or chicken treats. Purrfectly Natural is Loving Pets’ first cat treat. The main focus of these freeze-dried treats for retailers and consumers alike is simplicity—the “Power of One,” as the company refers to it. Each of the four varieties offers one single ingredient: chicken, beef lung, buffalo or shrimp. There are no additives, preservatives or by-products and each is sourced and manufactured in the U.S.

“Our goal is always to stay true to our foundation that healthy, all-natural, delicious and high-quality treats do not have to be expensive to the retailer or to the pet-loving consumer,” said Eric Abbey, president of Loving Pets. “We are thrilled to offer our retail partners and pet parents everywhere this commitment through our new Purrfectly Natural cat treat assortment.”

Not Just a Novelty

Novel proteins are those which a cat has not yet experienced. Studies suggest cats can develop food sensitivities when eating the same proteins for a long period of time. Exotic novel proteins may include duck, rabbit, trout, venison or pheasant.

Natural Balance Pet Foods introduced L.I.T. Limited Ingredient Treats Crunchy Cat Treats. The treats complement the company’s L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets lines, which are scientifically formulated to provide high quality nutrition and to optimize skin and coat. The treats are for cats of all ages and feature limited protein sources. The cat-shaped treats are grain free and come in three flavors: Chicken & Potato, Salmon & Potato and Rabbit & Potato.

Bravo Pet Foods offers Healthy Bites & Healthy Medleys freeze-dried treats for cats. Available in several flavors, these treats are packed with protein and are naturally low in fat. Sourced and manufactured in the U.S., their Chicken Medley and Turkey Medley recipes include nutrient-rich organs as well as muscle protein. Mariner’s Medley is made with three different types of seafood muscle protein: salmon, cod and shrimp.

Japan’s most popular feline brand introduces Ciao natural treats for cats to the U.S. market. Created by Inaba Foods, Ciao’s Churu Purées and Grilled Fillets are distinctively moist and come in several flavors that cats crave, like grilled chicken fillet in crab-flavored broth and many others.

“They are much higher in moisture than conventional snacks, so they help provide the vital hydration cats need,” said Don Tomala, managing partner of Matrix Partners, the brand’s U.S. marketing firm.

The biggest changes in the industry are coming from the natural side and this includes CBD oil from the hemp plant. The hemp plant is recognized as a superfood across the industry and has taken the pet industry by storm. While many of the products have been aimed at dogs and horses, Pet Releaf, a company that specializes in CBD oils for the pet industry, is also adding cat treats to their line of products.

“The oil used in Pet Releaf’s products is 100-percent organic CBD hemp oil from Europe and is made from the whole plant (not just hemp seeds which contain no CBD) in order to provide the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids,” said Steve Smith, co-founder of Pet Releaf. “Edibits is our speciality cat treat, which will be available in April. Even if your cat is absolutely healthy, using the recommended dosage is like giving your cat a superfood smoothie each day.”

“Pet Releaf’s products have quickly received a wonderful reception from customers and retailers alike,” said Pet Releaf Founder and CEO Alina Smith. “We’re looking forward to sharing our healthy new offerings with our consumer base, as it was our consumers’ voices that led to the creation of the new products. We are also quite pleased to announce our international partnerships in two very important markets. Both partners are very well known and respected in their home countries and will expand on Pet Releaf’s mission to change what healthy means for pets.”

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