November 16, 2018


By: Erik Dahl

As the global science and technology leader in pet food palatability, AFB International recently participated in two industry events in China, the world’s fastest growing pet food market. Both the China International Pet Show (CIPS) and Petfood Forum China were attended by pet food professionals from around the globe and demonstrated how dynamic, diverse and desired this rapidly growing marketplace has become – providing new opportunities for international pet food brands and companies.

China’s Record Pet Food Industry Growth

The rapid growth of China’s pet food industry began at the beginning of the decade. Rising incomes and other societal factors have increased pet ownership in China, as well as the disposable income pet owners have to spend on their pets. According to the China Academy of Agriculture Sciences, in 2010 only approximately 200,000 tons of pet food was produced in China. By 2020, they project that amount will grow to 2.6 million tons.

While the domestic pet food industry in China is growing, imported pet food brands are flourishing too and occupy approximately 30 percent of the market share. Domestic pet food producers occupy about 70% of the overall market including dry pet foods, treats and cans.

Pet Food Trends in China

As a burgeoning market with pet food brands of all sizes and world areas competing for pet owners’ affinity, many interesting trends are emerging in China, including:

  • Rise of Online Purchasing & Pet Specialty Platforms – Approximately 50 percent of pet food in China is sold online, compared to nearly 15 percent globally. Pet specialty websites and apps provide tailored information and products for buyers, such as foods pets should eat by region, and are leading sources of information for pet owners.
  • Innovation in Treats – The variety, customization and new formulations of treats from Chinese pet food manufacturers is attention grabbing and attracting buyers from around the world, such as a plastic “ring pop” that squirts meat pate for pets to lick off of owners’ fingers, rawhide treats in the shape of unicorns and french fries, and meat lollipops.
  • Increase in Premium Pet Food Offerings – To meet consumer preferences and compete with international brands, many Chinese pet food manufacturers are starting to become more selective in the palatability profile of their brands, looking to develop unique and premium pet food options.

Palatant Needs and Opportunities in China

As the China pet food market continues to evolve and grow, there is an increasing need for high-performance pet food palatants, as pet food brands look to differentiate their offerings and compete in this dynamic and competitive market.

For example, in the treat category, domestic pet food manufacturers do not have access to high-quality vegetarian palatant, one of the many product solutions AFB provides.

Local taste preferences in China are different, however, and time for learning and customization of palatant products is needed. Additionally, with many start-up pet food brands in China, there is a need for more information and education on the role and benefits of high-performance palatants.

As AFB International expands its presence in China, we are looking forward to expanding our relationships with leading domestic and international pet food manufacturers and supporting their growth by providing them with the highest quality and performance palatants.

To learn more about AFB’s global products or pet food trends contact Erik Dahl, Global Product Manager, at

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