Premium Pet Food Is Booming In China: Here’s Why?

The Chinese pet food market is seeing a remarkable increase in demand for premium quality products, resulting in a 38% year-on-year increase in sales, with US exports leading the way. This growth can be attributed to a rise in pet ownership, higher disposable incomes, and increased awareness of animal welfare in China.

As a result, millions of Chinese families are experiencing the benefits of improved nutrition, better overall health, and happier pets.

Contributing Factors To The Growth Of Premium Pet Food In China

Pet ownership is on the rise in China, and along with it comes an increase in humanization of pets, higher disposable income, and growing awareness of pet health, all contributing to the growth of the premium pet food market.

Increase In Pet Ownership And Humanization


One major driver is the significant increase in pet ownership and humanization among young people, women, and high-income groups.

In China, there is a growing trend of pet humanization where owners are treating their pets with more care and attention, investing both financially and emotionally in their well-being.

This has led to a greater demand for premium pet food options as owners seek to provide the best possible quality of life for their furry companions.

For instance, studies have shown that Chinese millennials prefer palatable treats made with natural ingredients or customized recipes based on individual needs for their fur babies.

Another example: pet food sales accounted for ¥111.2 billion ($17.5 billion USD), or 55% of the market share, making China the second largest market, behind only the U.S., despite only 23% of Chinese households having pets, compared to 60% of Americans.

Furthermore, with new pet owners who are young, well-educated, and wealthier, the pet industry is set to see explosive growth over the next decade.


Higher Disposable Income

The growth of premium pet food in China can be attributed to the rise in disposable income among urban households.

Many Chinese consumers are now willing to spend more on high-quality and nutritious pet food that caters specifically to their furry companion’s needs, including specialized diets tailored for puppies or kittens and ingredients sourced from reliable suppliers. This trend is particularly noticeable in the pet product industry.

This trend toward higher spending reflects not only an increased sense of responsibility but also growing awareness about proper pet nutrition among Chinese urban households.

pet shop on wechat

Growing Awareness Of Pet Health

The rise in demand for premium pet food in China can be attributed to the growing awareness of pet health. People in China now consider their pets as part of their family, and scientific research on diet and pet health has contributed to this mindset shift.

Various studies have highlighted the importance of quality nutrition for pets, revealing links between inferior ingredients and severe health issues such as obesity and kidney problems.

In response, more pet owners choose premium pet food brands that prioritize high-quality ingredients backed by veterinary recommendations.

Benefits Of Premium Pet Food For Pets And Owners In China

Premium pet food provides many benefits for pets and their owners in China, including improved health and energy levels, better nutrition leading to fewer health issues, and quality ingredients that support overall wellness.

Improved Health And Energy Levels

Premium pet food can improve the health and energy levels of pets, which is becoming more important to pet owners in China. Scientific research has shown that a balanced, high-quality diet can reduce the risk of diseases and increase energy levels for pets.

Successful premium pet food brands in China focus on promoting the specific nutrients in their products that promote healthy digestion, skin, coat, eyesight, or joint function, appealing to conscious consumers seeking scientifically proven benefits.

Better Nutrition And Fewer Health Issues

The premium pet food sector offers numerous benefits for both pets and their owners in China, including better nutrition and fewer health issues.

With premium pet foods, pets get access to high-quality ingredients that meet their nutritional needs.

Moreover, premium pet food manufacturers pay attention to digestive health and use natural ingredients that reduce the chances of allergies or sensitivities in pets.

For instance, Mars Petcare provides comprehensive veterinary care, nutrition, and wearable health monitoring for pets through its holistic approach toward pet wellness.

Quality Ingredients

Rising pet ownership in China is leading to greater demand for high-quality imported pet food. Pet owners are seeking out premium pet foods containing nutritious and protein-rich ingredients.

Some brands are importing ingredients from other countries known for producing high-quality products in response to consumer demand for better-quality pet food.

For example, Australian-made Ziwi Peak uses free-range meats sourced from ethical farms and fisheries in New Zealand while Canadian brand Petcurean boasts about using only fresh regional ingredients in its recipes.

Pet brand website

Successful Premium Pet Food Brands In China

Premium pet food brands in China, like Royal Canin and Hill’s Science Diet, have successfully tailored their products to meet the unique requirements of Chinese pets by utilizing local market insights and social media campaigns.

Case Studies Of Successful Brands

Here are some case studies of successful premium pet food brands in China:

  • Royal Canin: This brand has been successful in building a strong brand image by focusing on pet health and nutrition. They have partnered with veterinarians and pet stores to provide guidance to pet owners. Additionally, they offer breed-specific diets for cats and dogs and promote their products through social media.
  • Ziwi: A New Zealand-based company that produces air-dried pet food made from locally sourced ingredients. The company has been able to appeal to Chinese consumers who value quality ingredients and natural products. Their marketing strategy includes collaborations with influencers and hosting educational events.
  • Orijen: A Canadian brand that offers biologically appropriate foods for pets made from fresh regional ingredients. They have created customized marketing initiatives that resonate with Chinese consumers, such as promoting their product’s quality using the slogan “90% meat content”.
  • Challenges for foreign brands entering the market: Foreign pet food companies need to adapt their marketing strategies to align with Chinese preferences, which can be challenging due to cultural differences. Additionally, regulatory and distribution challenges may hinder entry into the market.

The booming premium pet food market in China presents a plethora of opportunities for investors and global pet-food majors looking to expand into Asia.

According to data from the China Feed Industry Association, in 2021 China’s pet food production reached 1.13 million tons. Additionally, the largest pet food-producing regions in China were the northern provinces of Hebei and Shandong, which reached a production output of 429,847 tons and 268,064 tons, respectively, according to data from the China Feed Industry Association.

Marketing Strategies Used

Here are some effective marketing strategies they use:

  • Collaborating with popular local influencers and celebrities to endorse their products on social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo to reach a wider audience.
  • Creating visually appealing packaging designs that stand out on store shelves and appeal to Chinese consumers’ love for luxury goods.
  • Participating in pet-related events, such as pet adoption days and trade shows, to showcase their products and increase brand exposure.
  • Offering promotions and discounts during festivals like Chinese New Year and Singles Day to attract shoppers looking for deals.
  • Translating all marketing materials into Mandarin Chinese to ensure the message is clear and accessible.
  • Emphasizing the quality of ingredients used in their products, as Chinese consumers place high importance on food safety and quality assurance.
  • Utilizing e-commerce platforms like Taobao, Tmall,, or Amazon China to sell their products online.

By implementing these strategies effectively, premium pet food brands can market themselves competitively in China’s booming pet food industry.

Challenges For Foreign Brands Entering The Market

Here are some key challenges for foreign pet food brands:

  • Competition from domestic pet food producers: Domestic pet food producers in China have been rapidly expanding their offerings and gaining popularity among Chinese consumers. This can make it difficult for foreign brands to break into the market.
  • Language and cultural barriers: Understanding local cultures and language is crucial for any successful marketing strategy in China. Foreign brands may need to adapt their messaging, branding, and packaging to better resonate with Chinese consumers.
  • Regulations and certifications: There are strict regulations on imported pet food products in China. Foreign brands must comply with various certifications and testing requirements before entering the market. Failure to comply can result in delayed market entry or rejection of products.
  • Distribution channels: Finding the right distribution channels can be a challenge for foreign brands, as many established retailers may already have partnerships with domestic brands.

We are your local partner in China!

The Chinese premium pet food market is experiencing growth due to increased awareness of pet health and humanization, resulting in a greater demand for quality ingredients and better nutrition.

Additionally, rising disposable income among Chinese pet owners has allowed for increased investment in their pets’ well-being.

Successful brands in this market have implemented marketing strategies tailored to Chinese consumers, while foreign brands face challenges entering the competitive market.


We are a China-based marketing agency offering cost-effective solutions to foreign brands interested in tapping into the Chinese market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed to succeed in this lucrative, yet complicated market.

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