As demand for vegan pet food soars, natural pet food brand Lily’s Kitchen, acquired by Nestlé Purina PetCare, has been expanding its vegan range for dogs into independent pet shops and retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home.
Lily’s Kitchen was founded in 2008 by Henrietta Morrison in London to offer dogs and cats natural and healthy wet and dry foods. The brand became popular among younger pet owners and millennials, and by 2019, its products retailed in 6,000 stores in 30 countries worldwide. In 2020, Nestlé Purina PetCare acquired the premium pet food company valued at an estimated £85 million.
In 2021, after the rise in dog options during the pandemic lockdown and the new consumer awareness of the benefits of plant-based food, Lily’s Kitchen launched its first line of “plant power” vegan meals and snacks for dogs, promoting them as an alternative for Meat Free Mondays or an ideal option for dogs sensitive to meat.
A growing interest in the vegan range
“Since launching our Powered by Plants recipes in 2021, we’ve seen continued interest in the range, especially the treats. In addition to our website and independent pet stockists, the range is also available in Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home,” Lily’s Kitchen told vegconomist.
According to the brand, its vegan recipes are crafted by expert nutritionists to “serve up delicious flavour and complete nutrition.” The products offer a mix of plant-based ingredients, such as legumes or quinoa, vegetables (instead of cereals), fibers, essential vitamins, and antioxidants. Lily’s Kitchen range includes Mighty Burrito Bowl with Jackfruit, Vibrant Rainbow Stew, Tropical Mango Jerky, and Succulent Sweet Potato Jerky with Jackfruit.
At the beginning of the year, The Grocer reported that Lily’s Kitchen revenues had risen to 31.6% from 2021 to March 2022. Lily’s Kitchen is said to be the first pet food brand in the world to have been certified as B Corp in 2015, and in 2021, the company achieved its third recertification as a B Corporation.
Demand for climate-friendly pet proteins
A recent Future Market Insights (FMI) report shows that the global vegan pet food market is expected to be valued at US$ 13.58 billion in 2023. In a decade, it is expected to increase at a CAGR of 7%, reaching a value of US$ 26.35 billion. The category has expanded faster than the conventional pet food industry because consumers are becoming more conscious about their pets’ well-being and are looking for environmentally friendly and ethical food choices for both themselves and their animal companions, says FMI.
Moreover, a recent survey by The Vegan Society reveals that 30% of UK consumers would be interested in vegan pet food if it is a healthier option, while 13-17% would buy depending on the price. Regarding motivation, around 4 out of 10 said taste approval (by dogs) was the key factor, followed by nutritional benefits.
Brands holding the Vegan Trademark include Benevo, one of the UK’s largest cat and dog food brands, and Yarrah, which received B Corp Certification in 2021. It is worth noting that recently, the vegan dog food brand v-dog released the first comprehensive study on the long-term effects of a plant-based diet for dogs. Completed by clinician-scientists at Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, the research confirms that dogs can thrive long-term on plant-based kibble while having a more positive impact on the planet.
“We believe the pet food industry is on the cusp of a new renaissance, with a multitude of more sustainable, climate-friendly proteins and ingredients emerging to enhance the health and wellness of our pets,” Rich Kelleman of Bond Pet Foods commented in a recent interview with vegconomist.