From medicinal marijuana to CBD-infused chewing gum, the human health and wellness market has experienced a surge of interest in cannabis products, a development that has spilled over with gusto into the pet supplements market, according to Packaged Facts in the report Pet Supplements in the U.S., 7th Edition.
Smaller pet supplement marketers have already flooded the market with products targeting conditions including anxiety, pain management, and brain function, and larger companies including CVS and Walgreens are primed to enter the CBD market as soon as the regulatory hurdles are cleared. Both driving and reacting to consumer demand for CBD, interest in the medical community is at an all-time high as well, with studies on rats showing that cannabinoids can help prevent cancer, decrease inflammation, relieve anxiety, control nausea, stimulate appetite, and reduce pain. Studies in humans have resulted in similar findings, with cannabinoids credited with aiding in treating depression, asthma, glaucoma, and epilepsy. At the same time, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp, the FDA has begun to hold public hearings to determine how to best regulate CBD products in both the human and pet health market. In addition, interest in medical marijuana to treat a host of health issues has also soared, with many consumers considering CBD to be “the next best thing” in places where medical marijuana or combination CBD/THC products are not yet available.
The current regulatory gray area notwithstanding, consumer attitudes suggest a bright future for cannabis-derived pet supplements. Packaged Facts’ February/March 2019 Survey of Pet Owners shows that pet owners are more likely than the population overall to support the legalization of marijuana, with agreement levels ranging from 64% to 69%, compared to 57% for all U.S. consumers. Additionally, pet owners are more likely to agree that both prescription and over-the-counter cannabis/marijuana/hemp/CBD products with medical benefits should be legal. Packaged Facts survey data also show that dog and cat owners already using CBD supplements are more likely than dog and cat owners overall to agree that marijuana should be legal, as are dog and cat owners who express an interest in purchasing CBD supplements in the future. Among pet owners, 39% of dog owners and 34% of cat owners agree that they like the idea of CBD supplements for their pets.
Sales of other types of pet supplements are also chugging along, with joint care products and supplements treating other age-related conditions remaining the most popular. Additional findings from Packaged Facts’ February/March 2019 and April 2019 pet owners surveys show that:
- 29% of dog owners and 17% of cat owners purchased pet supplements in the previous 12 months.
- PetSmart and Petco have the highest pet supplement purchase rates of brick-and-mortar outlets, ranging from 31% to 38% among pet supplement purchasers, with Walmart at 28% of dog and cat owners.
- 87% of dog owners and 86% of cat owners who purchase pet supplements use human supplements, compared to 67% of adults overall.
Based on the tremendous prospects and “halo effect” of CBD, the overall pet market focus on health and wellness, and the robust “pets as family” trend—Packaged Facts expects pet supplement sales to continue along a steady growth path, posting annual gains averaging 5% in the coming years, lifting U.S. retail sales above $800 million in 2023.
-- by Shannon Brown, senior pet industry consultant