Region/Countries: Europe, France Industry: Food and Beverage, Other Date: January 2021

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The number of pets is growing, and demand is rising for premium products in the natural, raw and organic categories.

Pets are very popular in France, with half of the French population reporting they own a domestic animal, and 18% of those who do not saying they wish to acquire one. Cats and dogs are the most popular pets; France has the second-largest domestic cat population in Europe, and the fourth-largest number of pet dogs.

With more people at home due to the pandemic, pet ownership has been rising, and sales of pet products also rising. In addition, market changes are creating opportunities for new players to establish themselves alongside the companies that have historically led the market.

As of 2019, France had:

  • 7.6 million dogs
  • 14.2 million cats
  • 4.7 million ornamental birds

According to Xerfi, the cat segment represents 43% of total sales in the sector, and the dog segment 38%. Sales of pet accessories have experienced exceptional growth of 48% over the past 10 years. There is room in the market for new types of offerings such as dog and cat insurance or pet food subscription services.

Annual pet food sales in France amount to 1.2 million metric tons, including 300,000 tons of wet food for dogs and cats and 841,000 tons of dry food for all types of animals.

With the trend of “personification” of pets, many owners are looking for food that matches the standards they set for their own consumption, and there is rising demand for natural, raw and organic pet food options. Products with specific health benefits are also very popular and have shown strong growth. Premium and luxury healthy and functional foods are moving into the mainstream as owners become more focused on the quality of their pets’ diets. Manufacturers and suppliers can also stand out by offering mobile apps that provide detailed information about their products’ composition and provenance, as consumers have shown a willingness to pay more for products with higher quality and traceability of ingredients.