According to senior analyst, Anje du Plessis, “As an emerging market, dog food in the Middle East and Africa holds great potential as changing attitudes towards dog ownership boost the demand for dog food in the region. Humanisation and premiumisation trends are expected to intensify, which will create more opportunities for brands to meet consumer demands.
"By leveraging the growing demand for convenience, e-commerce platforms could offer automation of dog food orders and secure monthly revenue, which is a win-win for all.”
Trends highlighted in the report include the following.
Changing attitudes towards dog ownership a boost for dog food
In South Africa, dogs had primarily been kept for safety reasons, but, in recent years, the perception of dogs has been changing from guard dog to “heart dog”. Large breed dogs dominate the dog population in South Africa.
Dog ownership in the Middle East was historically very low, not only because of cultural restrictions, but also due to the hot climate and small living spaces making it challenging to own a dog. Social media has been playing a pivotal role in the rising adoption rates in the Middle East as influencers posted about themselves adopting a dog during the pandemic and their followers then followed suit.
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Humanisation, premiumisation widespread as education and awareness increase
Despite difficult financial conditions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, dog owners continue to humanise their dogs. While South African pet owners were trading down to economy brands due to financial constraints, they were supplementing the dry food with wet dog food, mixing the two together to make it “tastier” for their dog, which is typical humanisation behaviour.
This new trend boosted growth for economy dry and wet dog food in South Africa.
Pandemic significantly boosts e-commerce
The distribution of dog food in the region is dominated by supermarkets and, to a lesser extent, pet shops. However, e-commerce grew in importance as a distribution channel for dog food during 2020, and this trend is expected to continue accelerating during 2021 and beyond.