Pet Gazette DECEMBER 2018 - Page 29

CLEAN EATING PETS | PET GAZETTE | 29 CLEAN EATING PETS With the focus clearly now shifted to wholesome, simple and high quality ingredients in the pet food market, SHEKINA TUAHENE explores the popularity and reasoning behind the ‘clean eating’ trend C lean eating or eating clean refers to a diet where one consumes foods in its whole and natural state, avoiding refined sugars and processed foods in a bid to become healthier overall. Some versions of the diet encourage the omission of dairy, gluten and grains or even promote the consumption of raw foods. Part of the influence behind the diet is to eat like our ancestors would before fast and modern life took over and it is followed by many celebrities and health enthusiasts. As with many current pet trends and due to the fact pets are more highly esteemed in the opinions of their owners, it is no surprise that the desire to have a clean diet is one that pet parents want for their companions. Responding to that demand from consumers, Mars Petcare announced it had launched a new ‘clean eating’ pet food brand Nutro with a “clean feed” philosophy in September. The idea of giving pets a clean diet is not new, but branding a pet food range as such is not so commonly seen as the term is usually reserved for people and the foods they eat and the diets they follow. WHAT IS CLEAN PET FOOD? In basic terms, clean pet food can be described as food which is simple, with no additives or unnecessary ingredients. Romain Dumas, European natural GM of Mars Petcare says the company conducted research into the clean eating trend and found that not only was it growing but 52 percent of consumers believed food with fewer ingredients was healthier. He adds: “If I look at our data, clean eating will drive two thirds of the UK pet care sector by 2020 - by 2020 the value of natural brands could increase by £300m.” He points out that within the cat and dog food sectors in particular, there has been “dynamic growth within specialist products” especially those which promise to provide health and lifestyle benefits. He says: “We see that they are ready to pay for a premium for quality for both themselves and their pets. That’s why we see such a trend and why we have decided to promote it in this way and to launch in that area.” As what for ‘clean eating’ means to a pet owner when choosing a pet food, Dumas says it is about “being simple, purposeful and trustworthy”, which is the ethos the Nutro range tries to embody. This is echoed by numerous pet food brands as Chris Lock, managing director of Lily’s Kitchen says an “ingredients list [should be] recognisable and the benefits clear”, while Freshpet’s director of marketing and head of e-commerce Jake Trainor believes it represents food “at its most natural state”. WHICH CAME FIRST, THE HUMAN OR THE DOG? When it comes to clean eating, it is at times difficult to know where the human influence begins and the pet one ends. Unlike the trend of humanisation which was explored in August’s issue of Pet Gazette and assumes that the human lifestyle is imposed on pets and reflected in what consumers want for their companions, December 2018