How Sustainability Is Transforming the Pet Industry

Sustainability is gaining momentum across industries as consumers become more aware of their purchasing decisions and how these decisions impact the environment.  

According to WPA partner the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC), “As PSC has expanded its sustainability work across the pet sector over the last 10 years, we have seen a corresponding growth in the importance of social responsibility to business's success.”

And the numbers only confirm this finding further: “Today, 80% of young US adults (ages 18-34) are willing to pay more for sustainable products — and this is the fastest growing demographic of pet parents,” says PSC.  


Sustainability Trends and Insights

In the report Pet Industry Sustainability Trends, NielsenIQ (NIQ) presents some key findings behind the shift in consumer decision-making and why pet retailers should consider stocking more sustainable pet products. For starters, there’s an increase in demand: 92% of consumers say that sustainability is important today. Of that group, 69% say that sustainability is more important than it was two years ago.

But what exactly is sustainability? Turns out, it means different things to different people: 

  • Better for the planet (61%) 
  • Protecting natural resources (57%) 
  • Reduced pollution / clean environment (54%) 
  • Cutting emissions (45%) 
  • Protecting wildlife (43%) 
  • Better conditions for workers (33%) 
  • Giving back to society (26%) 
  • Better for minorities (15%) 

Results were also varied when it came to answering, “What makes a brand sustainable?” While some survey respondents cited claims such as “Cruelty Free and “Eco-Friendly, the majority pointed to “Responsible Sourcing and “Sustainable Packaging. These responses further emphasize another notable finding in the NIQ report — that demand for sustainability isn’t solely product based. Consumers also expect companies to take action when it comes to packaging.

To be sustainable, consumers want manufacturers to:

  • Reduce the amount of plastic in packaging (53%) 
  • Be efficient, eliminate material waste (51%) 
  • Use sustainable packaging materials (46%) 
  • Reduce production waste, reintroducing it into manufacturing cycle (44%) 
  • Reduce the packaging of products (44%) 
  • Reduce the amount of CO2 emitted (37%) 
  • Reduce the amount of energy used in the production process (33%) 
  • Reduce the amount of water used in the production cycle (30%) 
  • Only use sustainable suppliers (22%) 


NielsenIQ: Consumers want companies to take action


Products with sustainable packaging represent a major opportunity for pet retailers. Over the past three years, sales of products with sustainable packaging claims have increased more than 22%, with the most significant growth among brands that claim to be “Biobased” (+436%), “Plastic Free” (+372%), and those with Tetra Pak product claims (+132%).

ESG claims — Environmental, Social and Governance — have also made a big impact for pet brands and companies. These three categories are taken into account when evaluating the sustainability and ethics of a company’s operations and practices.

According to the report: 

  • Brands with a higher degree of ESG1-related claims enjoy higher loyalty from customers. 
  • Brands with more than 50% of sales from products with ESG-related claims achieve the highest repeat rates, with up to 34% of households purchasing the product three or more times. 

Another revelation from the NIQ report is that households with more pets show higher interest in sustainability — environmental and packaging. Owners of multiple pets (more than two dogs or two cats) also showed higher interest in social responsibility as well as animal welfare when compared to households with just one dog or one cat. This trend is a great way for pet retailers to identify and target heavy sustainable buyers. 

But consumer buying habits aren’t the only driver of this demand. Governance and cost are also accelerating the pet industry toward more sustainable practices. From new legislation and requirements to fines and taxes to rising energy prices and supply chain disruptions, all signs point to a greater need for sustainable options. Just another thing to keep in mind when considering making an investment in more sustainable pet products, packaging and operations. 


Read more and download the full report on sustainability trends here.



6 Sustainable Exhibitors You’ll Meet at SuperZoo  

As always, SuperZoo’s show floor is designed to reflect the latest pet and consumer trends.

“We constantly keep a finger on the pulse of the pet world and what the community wants to see. In recent years, that’s been more innovative brands and products that prioritize sustainability.”
— Mike Karsting, SVP of Events, World Pet Association

The 2023 show is no exception. Below are six exhibitors to keep an eye out for if you’re looking to source more sustainable packaging, treats, toys and beyond this August. 


1. PetPak, Booth #3960 

Made of secondary packaging that’s 100% recycled and recyclable, PetPak offers a sustainable way for brands to multipack their products. From food and treats to cleaning and grooming products to vitamins and supplements, PetPak’s minimal packaging design allows consumers to buy multiple products together with ease. The result? Enhanced sustainability, brand value and sales.  

2. Canidae Pet Foods, Booth #6039

One area where sustainability is particularly important is in pet food. With a mission to make pet food better for pets and the planet, Canidae provides nutrient-rich recipes made from only the most sustainable ingredients. That means premium proteins and regeneratively farmed vegetables and grains — a bowlful of goodness for cats and dogs alike.


3. Jiminy’s, Booth #3319

Did you know that dogs and humans have been eating insects for thousands of years? Turns out, insect protein is quite the superfood. And Jiminy’s was the first to start adding powdered crickets to their dog food and treats. In addition to its many health benefits, insect protein is incredibly sustainable. It requires less land and water to produce than an equivalent amount of protein while emitting almost no greenhouse gases. 


4. Bright Planet Pet, Booth #1882

Bright Planet makes plant-based dog treats that taste and smell like real meat —enough to satisfy any dog’s craving. Compared to meat-based products, these treats create up to 90% less carbon emissions and use up to 68% less water. Additionally, Bright Planet donates 1% of its sales to plant trees in areas of deforestation in partnership with the Eden Reforestation Projects. Over 50,000 trees have been planted since 2021. Currently, packaging is being updated to a 30% post-consumer recycled bag ahead of the summer. 


5. Spunky Pup, Booth #6849

Clean Earth is a recycled toy product line from Spunky Pup that offers the only 100% sustainable plush dog toys on the market. Every part of each toy is made from recycled plastic bottles found in the ocean and landfills, from the filling and fabric to the stitching and binding. Since its inception, more than two million bottles have been pulled from the environment to make Clean Earth toys. Not only are the toys recyclable, but each can be recycled when your dog is done playing with it — maximum sustainability. 


6. Project Sudz, Booth #3864 

Sustainability isn’t always an easy option for pet lovers and pros. That’s where Project Sudz comes in. By making bar shampoo, home and pet sprays, waterless baths and other concentrated sprays from scratch — and by eliminating water from its products — Project Sudz is able to utilize cost-effective, sustainable packaging. No single-use plastics, no harmful byproducts to pollute the ocean. Additionally, Project Sudzs donates shampoo bars to a local homeless shelter and food bank.


Consumers are constantly looking for pet retailers that carry sustainable pet products. At SuperZoo, you can stock your shelves with what’s better for the planet — and your sales — with access to more than 900 debut products, 1,100+ exhibitors and 85+ emerging brands. Plus, with eight curated show floor areas you can find exactly what you need (and the products you didn’t know you needed) to differentiate your business and source your next bestsellers. From niche items to trending favorites to eco-friendly must-haves, SuperZoo has you covered. 



Discover more innovative pet products at SuperZoo 2023, North America’s largest pet retail event! Register today at 



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