In 2021, Italy’s dog, cat and other pet food markets reached a turnover of EUR2.419 million (US$2.46 million) in brick-and-mortar retail channels, and pet food sales volume of 658,467 tons. Including online pet food sales in Italy brings 2021’s total pet market sales turnover to EUR2.533 million (US$2.58 million), up 8.49% from the previous year. Online pet food sales brought Italy’s volume total to 682,191 tons of pet food in 2021, up 5.9%.
This data on Italy’s pet food, treat and product markets was released in a report by Italy’s pet food trade organization, ASSALCO, and pet food trade show organizer Zoomark International. The two organizations collaborated on the 15th edition of the report, “Pets in Italy: 15 Years of Changes in the Family and Society.”
Italian pet ownership during the pandemic
The Italian pet food market grew rapidly following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing 7.1% by value and 5% by volume, since early 2020. Italy was one of the nations where pet adoptions soared during pandemic movement-restrictions. Italy’s overall pet population reached 12.2 million in 2021, approximately one million more than the previous year. Much of this growth was in younger, upper-middle class households.
In 2021, 46.9% of Italian households purchased pet food at some time, up 3.4% from 2020. Growth of the Italian pet food market outpaced the wider consumer packaged goods sector, which rose 2.1% in 2021.
Italy’s pet food market value has grown faster than volume as pet owners opt for higher priced, premium brands. These premium and superpremium pet food brands followed trends found elsewhere in the global pet food market, including therapeutic, natural, vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, grain free, single-protein and raw formulations.