NewYork, 19.11.2015

Grain-Free Category Accounts for 34% of US Pet Food Sales; 25% Growth Since 2014

​Almost half of new pet food items launched in past year were grain-free – GfK pet specialty panel

"Natural” pet food may get all the headlines, but grain-free is the engine powering the natural juggernaut. New data from GfK’s point-of-sale pet panel, which represents over 11,000 pet specialty stores, shows that grain-free dog and cat food now accounts for one-third (34%) of all pet food sales, and 48% of the “natural” category.

 Overall, grain-free SKUs brought in $2.6 billion in the past year (October 2014 to September 2015), a growth rate of 25%. Dog items accounted for $2.1 billion of those sales, with grain-free dog treats spiking a remarkable 43% year over year. And grain-free items now represent 46% of all sales in the Dog Wet category. (See table below.)

 In some ways, grain-free’s success is a matter of sheer quantity; 45% of all pet food items introduced in the past year were grain-free – 1,557 new products, compared to 1,355 during the previous 12 months.  Another reason for grain-free’s elevated revenue is the category’s hefty price per pound – $3.01, on average; that is 26% higher than the overall pet food figure of $2.39 per pound.

Grain-free pet food sales growth (Oct. 2014 to Sept. 2015)

  Sales Growth (%) Share (in %)
Dog - -
Total 26 35
Dry 24 36*
Wet 28 46
Treats 43 20​
  Sales Growth (%) Share (in %)
Cat - -
Total 22 30
Dry 25 30
Wet 20 34
Treats 12 11

 * To be read: Grain-free products accounted for 36% of dollar sales in the Dog (Dry) category during the past year (Oct. 2014 to Sept. 2015)

“Grain-free has the potential to outgrow the natural category, because it also reaches into non-natural food and treats,” said Maria Lange, Business Group Director of GfK’s POS Tracking (Pet) team. “Without grain-free, the natural category would be declining in growth – and we think grain-free’s potential is far from spent. Cat SKUs, in particular, represent an untapped opportunity for new grain-free sales gains.”      

 GfK’s POS pet panel in the US helps both retailers and manufacturers make smarter decisions. Pet specialty stores can gain free insights into the marketplace simply by sharing their sales data with GfK; and manufacturers can obtain unmatched reports on nationwide trends, as well as the performance of their own products and of competitors. 

About GfK
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. GfK’s public affairs division specializes in customized public opinion polling, media and corporate communications research and reputation measurement globally. In addition to delivering a broad range of customized research studies, the division draws from GfK’s syndicated consumer tracking service, GfK Consumer Life, which monitors consumer values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in around 25 countries each year. The division is also the official polling partner of the Associated Press, conducting the AP-GfK Poll (

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