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More Americans Buying Expensive, Healthier Food For Their Pets

LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2014 () – My cat eats more nutritious food than I do. Seriously. I don’t think twice when I eat a McDonald’s Big Mac or reach for that extra Girl Scout cookie, but there’s no way I’m going to let my cat eat anything other than the veterinarian-prescribed diet food that I spend top dollar for. My cat, as far as I’m concerned, is a member of the family and I want to keep her healthy to ensure she’s around for a very long time.

I am one of a growing number of Americans who are focusing on quality rather than price when it comes to pet food. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent an all-time high of $55.7 billion on their pets in 2013, and spending is expected to increase to nearly $60 billion this year. The biggest part of this year’s spending—$21.57 billion—went for food, much of it for more expensive, healthier grub.

For comparison, total pet spending was just $21 billion in 1996. Even when adjusted for inflation, the total comes out to just $31.3 billion.

The lesson learned: Americans are paying more attention to what’s going into their pet’s mouths. They’re not just willing to feed them whatever’s cheapest. They’ll pay for more nutritional food, even if it costs a few bucks more.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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