Freely Pet Calls It The Puppy & Kitten Boom as Millennials Passionately Embrace Pet Parenthood

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Just In Time for July 4th, Millennials Now The Largest Group of Pet Parents at 35%+

“We believe this is a unique time in history to launch a new pet food brand, dedicated to a group as unique as Millennials, and to celebrate them and their commitment to pet parenthood. We see the chance to highlight the loving homes they’re opening up.”

As Millennials delay traditional milestones, like getting married, buying a house, or having children, they're choosing to be pet parents in staggering numbers. So it’s no wonder that Millennials recently adopted more dogs and cats than any other generation in history. Millennials are now the largest group of pet parents at 35%+ (overtaking Baby Boomers who are now #2 and represent 32%+ of dog and cat ownership), emptying animal shelters in many cities as they contend with COVID 19 driven isolation, long for companionship, and have more free time available to experience the joy of being a pet parent.

According to industry veteran and Freely Pet CEO Reed Howlett, “The pet industry is changing as a result of so many Millennials adopting dogs and cats. Products, distribution channels, and nutrition trends are as unique as pet parents, with Millennials disrupting the industry as it responds to their needs, wants, lifestyles, and technological savviness.”

5 Millennial trends stand out:

“Millennials have emerged as a major driver of growth in the US, as this demographic is more likely than any other to view their dog or cat as a member of their family,” Euromonitor states.

“Premiumization” is the trend driving growth in specialty products and brands across the wide range of items purchased by Millennials for pets, most especially for food.

Increasingly, everything that Millennials need for themselves, they also want for their pets. Millennials are willing to splurge on luxuries like specialty foods, beds, toys, clothing, travel accessories, and gifts along with the necessities including collars, leashes, bowls, medicine, grooming, and veterinary services.

Millennials favor manufacturers and retailers who truly understand their needs. “Younger shoppers are quite discerning when it comes to the products they consider good enough for their pets,” said Nathan Richter, senior partner at Wakefield Research.

Nearly two in three Millennials (63%) find expertise is lacking in the big-box pet stores, grocery stores, and mass retailers. Howlett said, “That’s why Freely launched the no-fee Freely Nutrition Center staffed with pet nutrition experts and veterinarians. No other company our size has made this level of commitment to the consumer.”

While Millennials have been less likely to settle down and start families, they are demonstrating that they take their role as pet parents seriously. “They’re looking for the right information and resources to do what’s best for their new pet,” according to Sara Gilbert, DVM of the Freely Nutrition Center, a relatively new brand in the $36 billion U.S. dog and cat food category. “We can’t just post information about our pet foods. Millennials expect experts to be available to answer their questions and provide scientifically relevant answers to their most demanding questions online and via phone. As a result, “Millennials are more likely than other pet parents to become loyal to higher-priced pet products and pet-care services delivered by brands and people who really understand them.”

According to Howlett, “We believe this is a unique time in history to launch a new pet food brand, dedicated to a group as unique as Millennials, and to celebrate them and their commitment to pet parenthood. We see the chance to highlight the loving homes they’re opening up.”

Freely Pet, LLC was started in 2020 by a group of passionate pet parents committed to making pet food easier to understand and buy. Freely products are available online at freelypet.com and Chewy and will be available starting in July at select local neighborhood pet retail stores across the US. The company is driven by its purpose of enabling pet parents to nourish their pets with confidence and ease. All Freely products are limited ingredient diet recipes made in the USA from the finest ingredients from around the world. Freely offers a selection of premium dry and wet foods as well as functional bone broth toppers for both dogs and cats, in a range of protein options from vegetarian and flexitarian to meat and fish.

Freely is privately held and headquartered in Brentwood, Missouri, and can be visited at freelypet.com and followed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @freelypet.

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Craig Kaminer
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