Are you missing out on the potential of pet food?

According to statistics, pet food is a missed opportunity for convenience retailers with over three-quarters of pet owners not buying food in their local shop. So how can retailers change this?

Studies have shown that pet shoppers are some of the highest spenders in convenience stores – spending 50% more than the average customer, and yet 77% of pet owners don’t purchase their pet food in their local shops. This means the category is a huge untapped opportunity: by encouraging pet owners to buy their pet food in-store, this could unlock far greater spend, and increase overall sales. Statistics show that 56% of households in the UK own a pet, 42% of convenience shoppers own a cat or a dog but less than half of these (22%) have purchased pet food in convenience stores, representing a huge opportunity for the retailer. Dave Minton, Category and Customer Marketing Director, Mars Petcare UK, says: “The bond between owners and their pets is a strong one and is reflected in consumer purchasing habits, therefore, owners are looking for the very best products on the market for their pets from brands they know and trust.” He says that with with space at a premium, retailers should stock bestselling lines to optimise the range where available and introduce best-sellers such as Whiskas and Pedigree. “

To help customers find products, retailers should also maximise points of interruption within stores both within and outside the established petcare aisle,” he adds. Retailers should also take note that siting pet treats at the till point can unlock greater basket spend and encourage last minute purchase decisions without taking up space in store. In addition to this, the Care & Treats sector is an impulsive one and secondary sites, such as clip-strips, help to create points of interruption in-store and play a vital role in delivering sales uplift. Mars Petcare’s website – – provides a range of materials and information to help convenience store managers make more from pet food products in their shops. Looking first to dogs, which live in around a quarter of all UK households, and owners can feed their dogs a mixture of wet and dry foods, or they can choose to opt for one particular type of food. When it comes to snacks, Pedigree DentaStix, is supported by a number of leading UK vet dentists and takes a leading 15.2% of the convenience market.

Cesar is another popular dog food, and last month, Cesar introduced two new varieties to its Country Kitchen range including, Tender Chicken and Tasty Turkey. The range is currently available in loaf and gravy varieties in 4 packs with an rrp of £2.49. At Purina, Bakers Complete is a market leader in Convenience with a 68.2% share in 2013, with a particular strength in the smaller boxes, which are the key sizes to stock, as many shoppers walk to the store. For cat owners retailers could do well to stock Whiskas Simply, which offers 100% complete and balanced meals with no artificial flavourings and preservatives. It is available in Grilled Meat, Steamed Fish and Grilled Poultry in packs of 12. Also relatively new is Whiskas Healthy Joints, a functional and nutritional treat that is targeted to address joint issues in cats.

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