Retailers focus on specialist brands as they suffer the impact of small pet food sales going into grocery
Supreme Petfoods has surveyed over 500 independent pet retailers* and found that over half (54%) report that in the small pet category they have experienced an adverse impact on sales as a result of brands moving into mass grocery channels. Stores that experienced the greatest decline in sales were those located close to mass grocery or discount stores.
It‘s perhaps no surprise that retailers are taking these factors into account when selecting the brands they support. The respondents say that specialist manufacturer, Supreme, is the most recommended small pet food brand, with the Tiny Friends Farm and Science Selective ranges accounting for over a third of all recommendations. The company is also given the most shelf space in their store, with 36% of retailers reporting they allocate most of their facings to the company‘s products, while another 27% give even facings for all brands stocked.
The survey identified that the top three most valued sources of information include manufacturer emails, wholesaler magazines and trade magazines and 40% of stores say they visit PATS. Some 80% also say they take advantage of promotions in wholesaler magazines to preserve sales and their bottom line.
Retailers reported that consumer demand around the top trends is focused on grain-free, natural and eco-friendly products. In many cases, they say brand selection is driven by consumers who are already looking for a specific product but breeder, vet and retailer recommendation can all have an influence on the choice.
Claire Hamblion, Marketing Manager at Supreme Petfoods, says, “It‘s disappointing that retailers are feeling the impact of multichannel brands and their distribution. Clearly this means they need to be very careful about stocking and recommending products that are widely available in mass consumer outlets. We‘re giving a lot of focus to educating pet owners about the benefits of specialist brands and the value that an expert retailer can bring to their shopping experience. It‘s important to match consumer expectation by ensuring specialist brands are stocked and that the fixture is easy for them to navigate. Our research shows that the small pet category is often the gateway to other purchases made by multi-pet owners, so it‘s especially critical to the success of an outlet.“
*The survey was carried out by telephone by Supreme Petfoods during July 2019 and is based on responses from 507 independent retailers.