Three Ways to Win Pet Owners Over through Color

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), pet ownership has displayed a consistent upward trend for more than two decades, with the number of dog and cat owners leading the way. An interesting shift in the pet food industry is owners’ eagerness to buy pet products that reflect their own eating habits, wellness decisions and overall lifestyle.

It’s no longer a surprise that today’s consumers are wary of artificial ingredients like synthetic colors when it comes to the food and treats they give their four-legged family members. Natural positioning resonates better with most shoppers these days, and up to 74% admit they are more likely to purchase a brand that converts to color from botanical sources according to Sensient’s 2018 H&W Survey. Consumers are additionally taking the time to scan ingredient lists on products for their furry family members. While natural ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices for color can help win consumers over, what’s even more compelling for pet food developers are the results of Sensient’s recent consumer research concluding the correlation of color to perceived positive health benefits in pet food.


1. Consumers associated superior nutritional quality with color variety.


2. Brands looking to communicate different functionality claims should not underestimate the power of color on consumer perception.

Multi-colored dry pet food outscored brown kibble three to one in all of the wellness attributes tested.


3. Dry pet food containing multi-colored bits and pieces was perceived as the most appealing. This consumer perception is most likely due to the healthy connection to pet superfood ingredients that are bold, bright colors.


In 2017, the APPA estimated that $69.36 billion would be spent on pets in the U.S., with food and treats counting for almost half of that projection. There’s no question pet food is a viable market, and based on our research, the opportunity for color in pet food is very clear and positively perceived by consumers. Color from botanical sources is not only able to mimic the shades of superfood ingredients, but can also naturally align with clean label and simple ingredient positioning.

For pet owners, nutrition is by far the most important to their pets’ overall well-being.

When these bold, bright colors are associated with great health benefits and superfoods, it’s easy to re-imagine kibbles and treats in a whole new way, especially in this booming market space.

We have an extensive portfolio of heat-stable colors perfect for extrusion processing. If interested, you can always let us know here, and our color experts can assist you.

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