The Pet Food Industry: An innovative Distribution Channel for Marketing Feed Products from Welfare Friendly Production to Consumers?

Wiebke Pirsich, Louisa Marie von Hardenberg, Ludwig Theuvsen


This paper represents the starting point of the notion of launching an innovative pet food segment labelled “made from welfare friendly production (WFP)” to achieve an added value for slaughter by-products that accrue in the production of animal welfare meat and to allocate the additional costs of higher animal welfare standards to a broader range of products. Since the pet food market is characterized by a large premium segment and pet owners are generally believed to be interested in the welfare of animals, the idea seems promising at first sight, but there is a lack of reliable evidence. Thus, the main objective of this investigation was to determine the particular interest of pet owners in the welfare of farm animals. It aims to provide decision support whether further cost-intensive economic analyses on the size and the potential of the market for pet food made from WFP should be developed and conducted. Therefore, a comparison of pet owners’ and non–pet owners’ attitudes to the issue of animal welfare in livestock farming was conducted and revealed highly significant differences. Pet owners not only have a more critical attitude towards intensive livestock farming but are also very interested in animal welfare meat and show a significantly higher willingness-to-pay for welfare friendly meat products. On the basis of these findings, specific analyses of the market potential and the feasibility of pet food made from WFP meat are highly recommended.


companion animals; consumers; pet food; pet owners; slaughter by-products; welfare friendly production

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ISSN 1869-6945


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