Who’s Really Feeding Your Pet? These Big 6 Control 90% Of The Market And Owns 106 Brands

Peyton Plankton
By Peyton Plankton

Before we talk about the tasty treats our pets love, let’s get to know the powerful companies behind them. Pet food isn’t just a small market – it’s huge!

In North America, these pet food giants raked in a whopping $46 billion in 2022. And, the pet food market is expected to explode in the coming years, according to Grandview Research.

Six mega-companies stood out, making up a staggering 89.3% of all pet food sales.

6 Giants That Control The Pet Food Industry

1. Mars Petcare

At the very top of this pet food empire is Mars Petcare, a branch of the Mars Candy Company. Mars doesn’t just make treats for people; they also create food for our four-legged pals. Imagine, the same company that makes Twix and M&M’s is responsible for a whopping 41.08% of all the pet food that’s gobbled up in North America!

And Mars doesn’t stop at just one brand – they’ve got a bunch!

Because, well, that’s how conglomerates work.

You might have heard of some: Cesar, Dreamies, Eukanuba, IAMS, Nutro, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Sheba, Temptations, Waltham, and Whiskas. Recently, they even scooped up Champion Petfoods, which means they now also control ORIJEN and ACANA – two top-tier pet food brands.

Now, here’s something that might raise an eyebrow or two: Mars also owns some veterinary clinics and hospitals, they have Banfield Pet Hospitals, Bluepearl, Linnaeus, and petpartners under their umbrella. It’s like a candy company owning medical clinics… but let’s not give the Mars Board of Directors any ideas!

Buying Up the Competition

Have you heard the saying “If you can’t beat them, buy them”? Well, these pet food giants sometimes use that strategy.

Back in 2014, Mars decided to buy not just one, but three different pet food brands: IAMS, Eukanuba, and Natura (including California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, and Innova). They spent a jaw-dropping $2.9 billion on these brands.

The Natura brands were, decent foods, but today they no longer exist thanks to Mars.

2. Nestlé Purina PetCare

Just like people have favorite snacks and meals, our pets have their favorite foods too. And guess what? Some of those companies also make pet foods! Nestlé Purina PetCare is one of those big players. They take second place in the pet food world.

Nestlé Purina PetCare isn’t just a small-time player, they take up nearly 30% of all the money people spend on pet food!

Have you heard of Alpo, Bakers, Beggin’, or Beneful? These are all pet food brands made by Nestlé Purina PetCare and that’s not all – they’ve got around 30 different brands in total!

3. J.M. Smuckers

That’s right, J.M. Smuckers who is known for their tasty jams are also cooking up a variety of familiar pet food brands. They might be new to the pet food scene, but they’re making waves. They control about 6.6% of the pet food market.

You’ve seen Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, or Rachael Ray Nutrish on store shelves everywhere, and these are just some of the brands J.M. Smuckers brings to the pet food table. They’ve got around 14 different brands in total.

4. Colgate-Palmolive

That’s right folks, a company that makes your toothpaste and dish soap, is also involved in making food for our pets. 

It might sound strange, but that’s exactly what Colgate-Palmolive, the toothpaste and dish soap company, did. Let’s take a peek at how they’re shaking things up in the world of pet food.

Well, Colgate-Palmolive also has a piece of the pet food market, they take up about 5.3% of the market. 

Here are the brands that they own, Science Diet, Science Diet (Prescription Diets), Ideal Balance, and Healthy Advantage.

5. Diamond Pet Foods

Now, let’s meet a pet food company that’s a bit different from the others. Diamond Pet Foods holds a unique role in the industry.

They’re not just making their own pet food; they’re also making food for other companies.

They control about 3.4% of the pet food market by making their own Diamond pet foods and Taste of the Wild, as well as the brands of pet food that they help produce products for.

6. General Mills

General Mills is famous for foods like Cheerios, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker. But in 2018, they added something new to their menu – pet food!

One of the brands they added was Blue Buffalo, this addition has caused its share of trouble along the way, here’s how:

Blue Buffalo said that their pet food contains only the best ingredients and none of the not-so-great stuff. But here’s the twist: they faced some trouble because of these claims. Blue Buffalo faced lawsuits and even had to pay a hefty amount for advertising that didn’t quite match the reality of their pet food.

You might be wondering, “I eat food from these companies, so why not feed it to my pets?”

Well, there’s a big difference.

When you enjoy a bowl of cereal or a snack, that’s just a tiny part of your diet.

But for your pets, what they eat from these companies might be their entire diet. It’s like if you had to eat the same meal every day, and it wasn’t always the healthiest option.

Now that you’ve peeked behind the curtain of the pet food industry, you know that the pet food world isn’t as simple as it seems, not unlike the beef industry in the US.

A small group of big companies holds the reins, and they’re not just about feeding our pets; they’ve got their paws in many other areas too.

Stay curious, and the next time you see a colorful pet food bag on the shelf, remember that there’s often more than meets the eye.

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