As Millennials continue to emerge as the biggest single pet owner demographic, their tastes and needs are expected to have an increasingly large impact on the direction of the pet food industry — including sustainability efforts.
According to PetFoodIndustry.com, Millennials may help advance sustainability efforts within the pet food industry in part through their purchasing behaviors. In a 2015 report from Nielsen, The Sustainability Imperative: New Insights on Consumer Expectations, Millennials and their younger peers in Generation Z are increasingly willing to spend more — roughly 75% in 2015 compared to roughly 50% in 2014 — on products and services from brands that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship. While younger generations appear to be the most willing to support sustainability through their purchasing decisions, support among Baby Boomers appears to be growing as well, with 51% spending more on sustainable brands in 2015 compared to 45% in 2014.
“If you look at the millennials, they are the first generation now who are willing consciously to spend more for better quality, for sustainability, for traceability. I think there is a change.”
— Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman, Nestlé
How will these changes in purchasing behaviors affect the industry? Many major industry players have already taken steps to improve sustainability within their companies, but this hasn’t always been communicated well through marketing efforts. As more and more pet food customers seek out sustainable and eco-friendly products, we may see a shift in marketing to better highlight companies’ efforts.