The pet food industry is an exciting and fast paced segment to work. The innovation and variety are huge, which makes it an exhilarating and competitive area for brands. When considering bringing a new brand, product, or idea to the market as a start-up, what do you need to consider? Keep reading to find out more. 

What are your brand or company values? 

Knowing your brand values and what your brand stands for means that you keep these values and priories in mind throughout your development. For instance, saying that sustainability or being environmentally sensitive is one of your brand values and then making choices through product development which contradict this make your brand hollow.

What makes you different? 

A unique selling point (USP). It is what every brand is looking for. What is it that will make customers choose your product? Whether this be the format, the ingredients used, the ingredient sourcing, or something else entirely. Knowing your USP is an important part of knowing how your brand will fit into the pet food market.

What value are you delivering through your product(s)?

Are you looking to deliver optimum nutrition through your innovative new recipes? Is this a convenient and attractive solution for busy pet parents? A fun and enriching option to support the behavioural and cognitive health of pets? Whatever angle you choose, ensure that your brand and products are delivering real value.

Where in the market do you anticipate your product(s) will sit? 

Within the pet food market there is a wide range of products which appeal to different pet owners. Are you looking for your product to be sitting in supermarkets? Do you see your product being sold in a farm supplies shop for working dogs. Or is this a super-premium product which will be available only in choice pet shops. Naming just a few. The priorities for products in these different areas of the market are different, so this impacts choices during your product development.

What ingredients do you want to see in your product? 

What ingredients are important to delivering nutrition, texture, and other properties of your product? Is it important that other named ingredients are not included in your recipe? It is important to consider this in advance to be clear on what you would like to see in your recipes.

How will you substantiate the claims you would like to make? 

The marketing claims in the pet food industry are varied. Many food products claim a functional benefit or a focus on a particular area of health. Claims include everything from highlighting the presence of ingredients and pictures on packaging to listing nutritional or health benefits. All claims made regarding a pet food must be substantiated. This means that you must have the information to back up the claim you are making. Think about the types of claim you would like to make and how you will keep this information to defend the claims made for your products.

What format will your product be?

There is such variety in the pet food industry. Foods, treats, and supplements are available in many different formats which all require different design and production processes. Additionally, these different formats have various logistical requirements and are suited to different styles of feeding. Considering the format which your pet food product will be from the beginning, and researching the options and limitations means awareness of how future processes will look.

How will your product be manufactured and who by?

This depends on the format which you choose for your new pet food product. Commercial scale manufacture and finding a partner to manufacture your product means that you can work alongside your manufacturing partner to optimise your product, the process. Your manufacturing partner can play an important role in your development process.

Enquire with manufacturing partners to understand the experience, quality, and food safety measures that each bring.


These are the key questions to consider as a pet food start-up, which often form a starting point of new product development support I carry out. 

Would you like professional support and guidance with your pet food new product development and navigating the pet food industry?  Book your introductory call with me or get in touch to find out more about the support and services I offer.