"Raw food is the only way for dog and cat owners to gain full control over the composition of their pet's food, and it is a way of preventing allergies and intolerances," enthuse supporters of this type of feeding. In the raw food diet, fruit, vegetables, flakes and other ingredients are added to meat in a mix tailored to the needs of the pet.
Veterinarians and some well-known pet food manufacturers are warning of malnutrition as a long-term consequence of raw food diets, however. They claim that dog and cat owners would make many mistakes with this type of nutrition. Their advice is that veterinarians should first produce a feeding plan, therefore, to ensure that pets receive the amount of minerals and other nutrients that they need.
Notwithstanding the debate raging about raw dog and cat food, this form of feeding has become enormously popular in recent years in North America and large parts of Europe. As a result, the range of raw dog and cat food is growing year on year. Visitors to Interzoo were able to see for themselves the boom in what was once a niche market. It was striking to note the significant increase in the number of raw food specialists exhibiting at the world-leading pet supplies show compared with 2016, indicating that raw feeding is evidently still in the ascendancy.
Retailers gearing up
The demand for frozen food, ready meals and food supplements has increased in the pet supplies trade too. Many large and medium-sized cities in the USA, England, Germany or the Netherlands probably have at least one raw food store by now, often run by an independent retailer. Virtually all the major pet store chains in these countries have incorporated raw food departments or even raw food shops into their programme. Online retailers have likewise markedly extended their range of raw food products. Many even offer their own exclusive brands in this merchandise category.
It remains to be seen how many suppliers of raw food products and how many retailers with raw food departments the market can tolerate. One problem is that virtually no serious data is available as to the size of the raw food market.
However, it is already evident that retail companies which think having a couple of freezers in the store will turn raw food enthusiasts into loyal customers will be disappointed. Here, too, it is the case that the better-informed will come out on top. Thus employees with specialist competence are called for as well as an adequate range of raw…