Grain-Free Category Accounts for 34% of US Pet Food Sales; 25% Growth Since 2014

Almost half of new pet food items launched in past year were
grain-free – GfK pet specialty panel

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–“Natural” pet food may get all the headlines, but grain-free is the
engine powering the natural juggernaut. New data from GfK’s
point-of-sale pet panel, which represents over 11,000 pet specialty
stores, shows that grain-free dog and cat food now accounts for
one-third (34%) of all pet food sales, and 48% of the “natural” category.

Overall, grain-free SKUs brought in $2.6 billion in the past year
(October 2014 to September 2015), a growth rate of 25%. Dog items
accounted for $2.1 billion of those sales, with grain-free dog treats
spiking a remarkable 43% year over year. And grain-free items now
represent 46% of all sales in the Dog Wet category. (See table below.)

In some ways, grain-free’s success is a matter of sheer quantity; 45% of
all pet food items introduced in the past year were grain-free – 1,557
new products, compared to 1,355 during the previous 12 months.

Another reason for grain-free’s elevated revenue is the category’s hefty
price per pound – $3.01, on average; that is 26% higher than the overall
pet food figure of $2.39 per pound.

Grain-free pet food sales growth
(Oct. 2014 to Sept. 2015)

      Sales Growth (%)     Share (in %)
Total 26% 35%
Dry 24 36*
Wet 28 46
Treats     43     20
Total 22% 30%
Dry 25 30
Wet 20 34
Treats 12 11

* To be read: Grain-free products accounted for 36% of dollar sales
in the Dog (Dry) category during the past year (Oct. 2014 to Sept. 2015)

“Grain-free has the potential to outgrow the natural category, because
it also reaches into non-natural food and treats,” said Maria Lange,
Business Group Director of GfK’s POS Tracking (Pet) team. “Without
grain-free, the natural category would be declining in growth – and we
think grain-free’s potential is far from spent. Cat SKUs, in particular,
represent an untapped opportunity for new grain-free sales gains.”

GfK’s POS pet panel in the US helps both retailers and manufacturers
make smarter decisions. Pet specialty stores can gain free insights into
the marketplace simply by sharing their sales data with GfK; and
manufacturers can obtain unmatched reports on nationwide trends, as well
as the performance of their own products and of competitors.

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David Stanton
Vice President,
GfK Marketing and
Communications, Consumer Experiences North America
(908) 875-9844