Vegan dog food has become increasingly popular in recent years, with some brands reporting an increase in sales
Vegan dog food has become increasingly popular in recent years, with some brands including Lily’s Kitchen reporting an increase in sales.
Last year, UK brand OMNI revealed that sales had surged by 600 per cent in six months.
Meanwhile, high profile figures like English footballer Chris Smalling backed plant-based dog food startup THEPACK.
And a recent report predicts that the global vegan dog food market will be worth $13.58 billion by 2023, reaching $26.35 billion by 2033.
Vegan dog food market
The report, by Future Market Insights, said numerous factors are propelling this growth.
Among them, were people’s concern for their companion animal’s health, as well as growing conscientiousness when it comes to farmed animals, and increasing awareness around the impact of animal agriculture on the planet.
This is something the co-founder of vegan dog food brand THEPACK agrees with.
According to Damien Clarkson (who founded the company with Judy Nadel), these are the values his brand seeks to embody.
In a statement, he said: “We’re on a mission to encourage pet parents to start thinking of the climate crisis when making purchasing decisions for their dogs and it starts with what we plate up ourselves and our pups.
“We are all living through an ecological crisis and a seismic shift in the pet-food industry can make a positive contribution to tackling the climate crisis.”
In 2022, The Vegan Society published a report titled Vegan Animal Care Report: Consumer Motivations, Barriers and Market Potential, which looked at ‘growing consumer interest around vegan food and other products for dogs and cats’.
As part of the report, a survey asked asked respondents ‘about the food they currently served, whether they were interested in vegan companion-animal food and what factors they would consider before making the switch’.
When it came to vegan dog food, 24 per cent said they’d bought it before, with 16 per cent of those saying their dog had enjoyed it.
Meanwhile, almost half (45 per cent) of those with dogs said they were interested in buying their companion animal vegan food, with a third (32 per cent) saying they would buy it as long as it was healthy, and 13 per cent saying they would buy it as long as it was cost comparative.
When asked about the considerations they’d make before before buying vegan dog food, 39 per cent said taste was the most important factor, 38 per cent citing the nutritional benefits compared to meat-based foods as the most important, 36 per cent citing price, and 37 per cent saying they would want more nutritional information from animal experts before purchasing.
‘Confidence among consumers’
Talking about the survey responses, Darrell de Vries, co-owner of vegan dog food brand Benevo, said: “This is great news for companies like ours that have been creating high-quality and affordable vegan cat and dog food for 17 years now.
“We’ve worked hard to develop confidence and acceptance among consumers for such products and now see interest and excitement in vegan products and treats going from strength to strength.
“However, as more companies see ‘plant-based’ as a growing trend and launch new products, it’s really important to look for reputable brands like ours, that are registered with the Vegan Trademark, to ensure what you’re buying is suitable for your needs.”
Lily’s vegan dog food
Lily’s Kitchen, which offers a range of dry and wet food, as well as treats for cats and dogs, was founded in 2008.
Its line of ‘healthy’ companion animal options quickly became popular, and by 2020, it was valued at an estimated £85 million, and was acquired by Nestlé Purina PetCare.
Lily’s range of vegan dog treats and food, labelled ‘Plant Power’, was launched in 2021, as an option for dogs who struggle when it comes to digesting meat, or even so the animals could join in on Meat Free Mondays with their humans.
And interest in the plant-based range, which boasts options like Mighty Burrito Bowl with Jackfruit and Tropical Mango Jerky, has continued, the brand told vegconomist.
“Since launching our Powered by Plants recipes in 2021, we’ve seen continued interest in the range, especially the treats,” a spokesperson said.
“In addition to our website and independent pet stockists, the range is also available in Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home.”
Vegan dogs food
While some worry about feeding their dogs a vegan, this can be done safely and healthily according to experts, as dogs are omnivores (feeding cats a plant-based diet is more contentious, as they are obligate carnivores – though that diet too has support among some vets and other animal care professionals).
Andrew Knight, Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, and Director of the Centre for Animal Welfare, at the University of Winchester has spoken about vegan dog food.
He said: “While we’ve known about the benefits of feeding cats and dogs a vegan diet for some time it’s really encouraging to see interest in this area is on the rise.
“What this report shows is that both vegans and non-vegans understand that vegan cat and dog food can actually be a healthy option for their four-legged friends with a large number of respondents stating they are focused on the nutritional benefits compared to meat-based foods.
“For years I’ve been advocating for more research into this area and for that research to be readily available to people via their animal care provider.”
With plant-based options on the rise, should vegans feed their pets meat? We explore both sides of the debate
Featured images © Lily’s Kitchen, edited by VFL