Animal & Pet Food Bulk Product Ingredients & Industry Trends

On episode 12 of “Get the Scoop with Smirks,” hosts Zach Schwint and Garrett McBride dive into the evolving landscape of the pet food industry. Fresh from their debut at the Pet Food Forum in Kansas City, they discuss current trends, ingredient innovations, and future directions for the industry. They also highlight the various bulk ingredients Smirk’s offers for pet food manufacturers and share insights on market demands and product development.

Pet Food Market Growth and Trends

The U.S. pet food market, valued at $43.9 billion in 2023, is expected to reach nearly $60 billion by 2032. Key drivers include premium pet food products focusing on overall wellness, healthy aging, and good digestion. 

Innovation in pet food is booming, with a significant portion coming from new companies that have emerged in the last five years. Interestingly, Mintel Insights indicates there’s even more new product development and innovation going on in the pet food industry, 50 % of which is for dogs and cats, than in human food. 

Pet Food Sustainability and Functional Foods

There are trends in the pet food industry that mirror what Smirk’s sees in the human food industry including a growing emphasis on sustainable practices, such as recyclable packaging and upcycled ingredients. Pet food facilities are increasingly powered by renewable energy.

Pet owners are also looking for functional pet food products focusing on better gut health are trending. Ingredients like quinoa flakes, pumpkin powder, and psyllium husk are in demand for their digestive benefits. The days of a few brands of kibble are long gone! 

Pet Food Ingredient Innovation

Plant-based proteins, such as pea protein and pumpkin protein powder, are becoming popular in pet food. Gluten-free and non-gluten-free options cater to various dietary needs. Some pet owners are getting DNA tests to determine the best diet for their family pet so options for all types of conditions are being considered. 

Fruits and vegetables like banana, apple, strawberry, sweet potato, and potato starch are commonly used in pet foods. Alternative sweeteners like coconut sugar and functional oils like coconut and flaxseed oil are also gaining traction.

Ingredient benefits and versatility are key for pet food producers, and we discuss ingredients that Smirks offers for animal and pet food and pet treats. These items are typically offered in non -GMO conventional and organic formats. 

1. Coconut Products

Coconut is a major ingredient in pet food beneficial for dogs. Smirks offers a range of coconut products, including desiccated coconut, coconut sugar, and coconut flour. Coconut oils, such as virgin coconut oil and MCT oil, are noted for keeping pets’ coats shiny and healthy.

2. Seeds

Flax seeds, chia, sunflower seeds, and quinoa flakes are highlighted for their nutritional benefits in pet food. Flax seeds are available in various forms, while chia seeds are noted for their digestive health benefits. Sunflower seeds are a cost-effective nutritious option, and quinoa flakes are easier for dogs to digest.

3. Plant-Based Proteins and Grains

Plant-based proteins like pea, sunflower, pumpkin, and rice protein powders are increasingly used as substitutes for animal proteins. Smirk’s also deals in various grains and starches, many of which are gluten-free, such as sorghum, tapioca, and cassava flour, providing fiber and protein for pets.

4. Dried Fruits

Smirk’s stocks a variety of dried fruits, including apples, pineapple, mango, cranberries, and banana chips, which are used in pet foods and treats to add nutrition and fiber.

Monthly Market Report June 2024

Here’s the latest update on ocean freight and key commodity trends impacting the pet food and treat industry.

Ocean Freight Updates

Ocean freight rates from Southeast Asia have surged to $7,000-$8,000 and are expected to exceed $10,000 by the end of summer. These rates were just $1,500-$3,000 a few months ago. This drastic increase is primarily due to equipment shortages triggered by disruptions like the Suez Canal blockage. Higher freight prices and shipment delays are anticipated throughout 2024. Even with contracts, there are no guarantees of equipment availability when products are ready to load, making it challenging to hedge freight costs.

Coconut Products
Prices for coconut products have skyrocketed due to El Niño-induced extreme heat and drought in the Philippines. Supplies are tight, with limited offers for the end of 2024. Vietnam presents a viable alternative with ready-to-ship supplies at comparable prices to previous offers from the Philippines.

The cashew market is under pressure due to a shorter crop and an export ban on raw cashew nuts (RCN) from Ivory Coast. This has led to significant price increases and tight supply, with quality concerns adding to the challenges.

Pumpkin Seeds
Prices for pumpkin seeds are decreasing due to large plantings in China. However, the benefits are offset by rising ocean freight costs, which diminish the savings from lower origin prices.

Overall Market Outlook

Expect higher prices and shipment delays across many commodities. For coconut, Vietnam is a recommended source due to more stable supply. For cashews, immediate action is advised to secure coverage due to tight market conditions. Despite lower prices at origin for pumpkin seeds, ocean freight costs continue to impact overall savings.

For more detailed insights or to secure supplies, connect with Smirks through our website or email us at 

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