According to new Mintel research, one-third (34%) of UK dog food buyers believe it is good for pets to have a plant-based meal instead of a meat-based one regularly. Meanwhile, 43% of dog food buyers think it is healthier to limit the amount of red meat eaten by pets than not to limit it at all.

Mintel’s research showed that Britain’s younger dog owners are most likely to give red meat the chop, as 58% of dog food buyers aged 16–24 believe it is healthier to limit red meat in their dogs’ diets, compared to just 30% of dog food buyers aged 45-plus. Similarly, 40% of dog food buyers aged 16–24 are in favor of regularly dishing up plant-based meals, compared to just 21% of owners aged 55-plus.

Mintel research revealed that digestive health is also high on the priority list of pet owners, as 76% of cat/dog food buyers believe that actively looking after pets’ digestive health is essential for their overall health. They are joined by 44% who believe that pet food with “good bacteria” (such as fermented foods) is good for pets’ health. This comes as 42% of pet food buyers consider their pet a “foodie.”

Overall, 71% of pet food buyers say that a pet’s diet has a direct impact on its emotional well-being, while 51% show an interest in food with calming ingredients such as chamomile and hemp.

“Our research finds that many pet owners are keen for their cats and dogs to adopt some of the alternative diet trends that are being embraced by humans,” said Emma Clifford, associate director of food and drink at Mintel. “The fact that a third of dog food buyers agree that it is good for pets to have plant-based meals regularly is a key example of the considerable scope of the humanization of pets trend. The growing interest in plant-based diets among the population as a whole has a lot to do with this trend extending to our four-legged friends.”

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