The American Veterinary medical Association (AVMA) rescinded its recommendation of supplementing pets with glucosamine back in Novemer 2016.
The AVMA originally supported glucosamine supplementation because of its long history of use in the management of osteoarthritis and the absence of significant safety concerns, but withdrew this support based on recommendation from several of the association’s committees, citing ‘lack of efficacy data.’
Nevertheless, Packaged Facts analysis suggested that the category showed no signs of slowing down—joint health supplements joined digestive health supplements as the most frequently purchased last year. The survey, conducted online in December 2016, included 2,244 US adults over the age of 18, with 1,743 dog owners and 1,261 cat owners, according to the report.
Competition from functional foods, treats
Main competition for supplement sales in the category comes from health foods and treats, the report said. “Among dog owners who purchase pet products, digestive health supplements and joint supplements attract 13% each, compared to 17% and 9% purchasing digestive health foods or treats, respectively, and 10% purchasing joint support food or treats,” according to the report.
While giving pets supplements may require pet owners to fight a little bit and get their pets to eat them, functional foods and treats offer ease of delivery, convenience, and monetary savings of having to purchase only one products.
However, “these functional products seldom have the concentrated dosage found in supplements,” the report said.
Going for chewy and natural
In the past, pet owners may have smeared or hid nutritional supplements in peanut butter or treats, but to compete with functional foods and treats, some manufacturers are doing this work for them. For example, there has been a strong focus on creating chew format pet supplements, Packaged Facts reported.
Another possible differentiator for supplements can be in the product’s attributes and call-outs. Just as in human food, there is high demand for natural and organic pet nutrition products, with many pet owners eschewing ingredients that are synthetic or synthetic sounding.
Making its way into pet nutrition from the human side is curcumin, derived from turmeric, sought for its anti-inflammatory effects. It is showing up in more new product launches in the pet nutrition category, such as The Honest Kitchen’s Bone Broth with Turmeric.
As a result, Packaged Facts is closely monitoring curcumin in the pet space. “[We’re] watching to see how much staying power this intriguing ingredient has in the pet supplements segment,” the research company said.