European pet food industry continues to grow

We expect the European pet food industry will continue to grow. Growth over the last year has mirrored the growth in the pet population from around 300 million to over 340 million. Annual sales of pet food products currently sit around 29.1 billion euros and this is growth of 5.1%.

Alice Tempel Costa
Technical Director and Deputy Secretary General
FEDIAF

Pet parenting has been on the rise in recent years. Especially the Covid-19 pandemic was an important factor in this process. The isolation during the pandemic contributed to people giving more importance to the love and friendship of pets. Today, Europe is one of the regions where pet parenting is most common on a global scale. The pet food industry in Europe produces around 11 million tonnes of food every year to meet the demands of more than 90 million pet parents. This means around 33% of the world’s total pet food production.

Growth in the pet food industry of the region is expected to continue in the coming years. FEDIAF, the voice of the European pet food industry, represents 95% of the industry in the region and closely monitors and reports on industry developments. That’s why we asked Alice Tempel Costa, FEDIAF Technical Director and Deputy Secretary General, about the European pet food industry, the industry’s current issues and future expectations.

First of all, can we get some information about FEDIAF? Could you explain FEDIAF’s purposes, its members, and its role in the market of the pet food industry? What proportion of pet food manufacturers in Europe do your members represent?
FEDIAF is the united voice of the European pet food industry. Our membership includes 15 European national pet food associations, together with five pet food manufacturers operating in Europe. This equates to around 95% of the industry.

We represent the industry’s interests with the EU institutions, national authorities, academics, other associations and NGOs. FEDIAF also provides a platform to share, develop and promote best practice in the industry. We aim to ensure that safe, nutritious and palatable pet food is supplied across Europe.

Can you tell us a little bit about the European pet food industry? How many pet food producers are there across Europe? Could you give information about their average annual production, sales amounts and product types?
We estimate that our membership represents around 150 pet food companies (200 plants) across Europe, producing 10.5 million tonnes of pet food, which is provided to many of the 91 million European households benefitting from the love and companionship of their 340+ million pets. There are around 127 million cats, 104 million dogs, 53 million birds, 29 million small mammals, 22 million aquaria and 11 million terraria.

In Europe, there are an estimated 118,000 people directly employed and 950,000 indirectly employed throughout the pet food industry.

What can you say about the size and growth potential of the European pet food market?
We expect the European pet food industry will continue to grow. Growth over the last year has mirrored the growth in the pet population from around 300 million to over 340 million.

Annual sales of pet food products currently sit around 29.1 billion euros and this is growth of 5.1%. In volume terms, the pet food market has also grown 3.5% and is currently 10.5 million tonnes. Readers can fine more information about European data in our Facts & Figures report.

In general, the animal nutrition industry has been at the centre of a very busy agenda in recent years, such as sustainability, environmental footprint, carbon emissions, animal welfare. What do all these agendas mean in the pet food industry?
Yes, we have had – and will continue to have – a very busy agenda! We recently launched our FEDIAF Manifesto and all our work is aligned with our three pillars, covering the topics you mention:

NUTRITIOUS PRODUCTS BACKED BY SCIENCE
FEDIAF’s mission is to ensure the supply of nutritious products across Europe. We will continue to work closely with experts to update our highly regarded nutritional guidelines, labelling code and also create and update our wide range of factsheets, to support pet food manufacturers.

SUSTAINABILITY FROM FARM TO BOWL
We are also monitoring various environmental developments at EU and national level. Firstly, we have been monitoring the development and actively working on the packaging and packaging waste regulation proposal and we continue to promote the importance of Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology for the pet food sector, especially in the context of discussion on green claims. Since 2018, we have worked with the European Commission to develop the PEF Category Rules and we continue to reiterate our support for a harmonized legislative framework based on the PEF method.

THE ROLE OF PETS IN SOCIETY AND THEIR WELFARE
FEDIAF also recognises its commitment to the broader topics of animal welfare and responsible ownership. In addition to monitoring and contributing to legislation at an EU and national level, we collaborate with other stakeholders to promote the welfare of pets. A key focus of our work is the Pet Alliance Europe. This collaboration with AnimalhealthEurope was recently expanded as we welcomed FECAVA and FVE to our alliance in September. We also work via our website and social media to communicate the wide-ranging health benefits of pet interaction.

Finally, what would you like to add?
Just to say follow us on Linkedin and keep an eye on our website europeanpetfood.org for news. We expect 2024 to be a busy year!