Mars Petcare category and market activation director Zoe Taphouse explains how independent retailers can take full advantage of the opportunities created by the expanding new generation of British pet owners
GOOD TIMES FOR THE TRADE
It is an exciting time for petcare. Britain is in the midst of a pet population boom, driven partly by the pandemic and growing understanding of the benefits of pet ownership on our mental and emotional wellbeing. This, in turn, is driving an acceleration of growth and presents big opportunities for retailers.
With the new generation of pet owners and a growing preference for certain breeds that tend to live longer than others, retailers can maximise opportunities by ensuring availability of well-known trusted brands and offering the right products for the right pets at the right life stage. Pet parents are also continuously turning to products inspired by nature and science, as well as sustainability, therefore retailers should prioritise these offerings.
MAKE IT EASY FOR NEW SHOPPERS
Good signposting and secondary positions for treats are invaluable, helping to elevate shopping trips to a more valuable transaction. Premium brands, such as Cesar and Sheba, are key to driving spend too as well as products with purpose and sustainability credentials.
KEY LINES TO DRIVE SHOPPER SPEND
Providing trade-up options is key to driving premiumisation and shopper spend, especially in luxury wet single serve dog and cat food. Shoppers are also trading up in terms of pack size, with shopper penetration of single serve wet cat food in seven to 15-pouch multipacks seeing growth, as well as 101g to 200g packs of dog treats. By increasing distribution of larger packs, retailers can increase spend. Mars Petcare is helping retailers capitalise on growth with the ‘Dream Sixteen’, a reinvigorated range of must-stocks, including bestsellers from Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba and Cesar.
QUICK WINS AND PROVEN SUCCESSES
It’s particularly key that retailers stock well-known brands, such as Whiskas, Pedigree, Sheba and Dreamies, as that will help reassure shoppers of a range they can trust. Utilise social media within your local community, highlighting product offerings and availability. Stores should focus on placing pet treats prominently, such as close to the till, that tempt shoppers to buy on impulse.
HELPING RETAILERS REACH NEW CUSTOMERS
This year we have launched a new initiative in partnership with James Wellbeloved called ‘trusted partner’ to help drive new shoppers into stores. Retailers signed up to the programme have access to packs and vouchers to attract new customers, plus receive training on products and nutritional advice. We have assets available that can be utilised on social media channels and stores are listed as a stockist on the James Wellbeloved website.
ROOM FOR FUTURE GROWTH
We expect to see some further growth in pet ownership and will be doing our own studies into this. We also expect to see petcare category growth. This will be achieved by delivering natural, healthy treats and meals for cats and dogs that have been developed in line with rigorous scientific research. These products will cement the ever-closer bonds consumers have with their pets by providing moments of enjoyment and indulgence.