There are a number of reasons why the nearly 89 million cats in U.S. households are finding more wet food in their dish these days.

First, cat parents are learning about the health benefits of feeding cats wet food, as it ensures the cat is well hydrated and also provides high-quality protein to support lean muscles. Secondly, cats naturally crave a range of flavors and textures, many of which are closer to how their ancestors ate in nature.

All of these factors lead to 63 percent of the nearly 44 million cat food buyers adding wet cat food to their shopping lists.

So why should retailers care?

Wet cat food is currently the second fastest growing segment within the cat food category, and it’s expected to grow six percent over each of the next three years. And sales tend to be incremental, with more than half of shoppers purchasing both dry and wet cat food.

Wet cat households also make 14 trips and spend an average of $121 on wet cat food over the course of the year. That’s compared to 7.7 trips and $88 spent per year by dry cat food shoppers.

How can you feed incremental sales in the pet aisle?

  • Expand your wet cat section to allow for more variety. Much like the animals they care for, wet cat food shoppers are looking for variety cats instinctually crave.

Variety of inventory is actually the top consideration when wet cat shoppers choose a brick and mortar retailer, with one in five shoppers leaving the store if their retailer doesn’t offer the variety they are looking for. Wet cat food shoppers are not only looking for variety of flavors and forms, but also package size and price tiers. Currently, many wet cat food sections are only eight feet. Expanding to 12 feet allows retailers to dramatically increase their assortment and sheer presence in wet cat.

  • Feed increased consumption through larger variety packs and multiples pricing. Ongoing promotion on larger wet cat variety packs and higher multiples pricing, i.e. 10 or 20 for are key. The larger the multiple, the higher potential purchase from your shoppers. Across all categories, we’ve seen a shift to behaviors that reduce the number of trips to a brick and mortar store. Among cat owners, eight of ten have changed their shopping behavior due to COVID. A third of this group is shopping for cat products online or having them delivered.  With this change, we see a shift in wet cat food purchasing from single cans to variety packs. Variety packs and multiples pricing drive more units per trip and ultimately move more units per year.
  • Emphasize new opportunities for cat owners to feed wet. Feeding wet cat food is not only good for cats, but it allows owners to connect with their pets. There is a new trend towards wet cat compliments and treats, like Fancy Feast Broths and Fillets, which provide new feeding occasions for cats and the people who love them. Consider featuring these products on an endcap as a basket builder.

With the increased consumer awareness around the benefits of wet cat food, and the strong bond between owners and their variety-seeking companions, the wet cat food market is primed for growth over the next several years.

What are you doing now to capitalize on this trend in your store? Are you featuring 12 feet of the wet cat food varieties your shoppers are demanding? Are you using multiples pricing every day and on promotion? Using these simple strategies can feed incremental sales in your pet aisle for years to come.

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