Pet Food Market Size in Europe

In 2015, the pet food market in Europe was worth 19.62 billion USD (16.97 billion EUR). Until 2019, it grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.11% to reach 23.95 billion USD (20.71 billion EUR).

The ten largest pet food markets in Europe accounted for 84% of the total value for the region in 2019. The top three countries (United Kingdom, France, and Germany) combined made up half of the total value. However, only Turkey, Italy, and Spain saw a positive increase in their market share between 2015 and 2019.

From 2015 to 2019, almost all 37 pet food markets in Europe, recorded a positive CAGR. The only exception was Slovakia, which showed overall flat dynamics.

More than half of the countries had an average annual growth of 5%. The three fastest growing pet food markets in Europe (Turkey, Belgium, and Serbia) recorded average value growth above 10% per year.

Number of Pets in Europe

The European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) estimates there were 306.07 million pets in 88 million households (38% of total European households) in 2020.

By species, cats and dogs make up the majority of pets in Europe, 36% and 29% of the total, respectively. Birds and small mammals accounted for 17% and 10%, respectively, while aquaria and reptiles for 5% and 3% of the total, respectively.

A more detailed breakdown by country and additional data for 2020 is available on the FEDIAF’s annual overview.

Pet Food Companies in Europe

In the June 2021 edition, Petfood Industry Magazine showcased the top 101 pet food companies around the world in 2020 based on revenue.

In their ranking, 41% of the top companies were based in Europe. Despite Europe’s high representation, only one European pet food company was in the top ten. Overall, the top ten ranking is dominated by large pet food companies based in the United States.

The next nine largest European pet food companies were spread out between the 11th and 30th rankings. The full ranking list is available on the Petfood Industry website.

Pet Food Market Trends in Europe

The primary growth drivers of the pet food market are the:

  • Rise in pet ownership;
  • COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Humanization of pets.

Between 2010 and 2020, the total number of pets in Europe has increased by 27%, from 240.81 to 306.07 million pets. Over the past decade, the highest increase was recorded by aquaria with 67%. Next were cats, dogs, and birds with overall increases of 30%, 22%, and 22%, respectively. Reptiles increased by 5% (since 2012), while small mammals declined by 3% in the past ten years.

Over the past few years, the number of pets had remained stagnant and even slightly declined. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the following lockdowns, pet ownership raised significantly. People were isolated in their homes for long periods and pets became an excellent source of companionship, especially for people living alone.

Pet owners accept their pets as a member of the family. As such, they receive healthy and nutritious food along with loving care. In affluent markets, consumers tend to favor premium pet food.

Premium pet food targets specific pet characteristics like age, breed, size, lifestyle, and medical conditions. These formulations are specially designed to provide the nutrients the animal needs most in its current life phase.

In recent years, organic, gourmet, and artisanal segments have become more popular as they provide superior nutrition and taste. However, they are mostly seen as more of an ultra-premium option that only a minority of pets can enjoy on a regular basis. Despite that, the overall cost of pet food has experienced a downward trend in recent years.

Pet food companies also create high-protein and grain-free pet food. These products cater to specific health requirements and can include alternative protein sources like plants or insects. They offer higher levels of nutrition than most meat-based proteins and are more environmentally friendly. However, they do not remove meat from the complete formulation for species that must eat it for a balanced diet.

Because of pet owners’ desire to provide only the best for their pets, clean label pet food has also become more popular. However, certification standards must further improve before they can give consumers adequate confidence in their purchase.

Over the next few years, e-commerce is expected to grow its share of sales even further. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly boosted e-commerce sales and newfound convenience will likely result in pet owners consistently preferring online over brick-and-mortar shops.