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Lavish spread for pets

One of the biggest changes observed by pet owners these days is in the variety of choice for their darlings. About a decade ago, pet products presented a dreary picture. A motley collection of belts and chains, some tonics and boxes of smelly biscuits were all that the pet section in a store offered. Currently, the scenario is improved significantly. Shopping for pooches is as exciting as shopping for our self with equally exciting price tag to match.

In Goa, the greatest change taking place in the pet segment is in food where products have a now visibility these days. Check out stores and discover how much the window display has changed over the years. Food display has come a long way from a dusty corner in a chemist store and that too in a handful of chemists. Department and superstores that stock pet food these days do so properly and they have a whole section devoted to it. Moreover, special pet shops have come up that offer a range of pet stuff including food.

The sales staff at Mandovi Pet Shoppe in Unitech Centre, Panaji points out that a pet meal is differentiated to cater to variety of pets. It depends on the breed, its size, state of health, etc. Brands in pet food are numerous and some like Venky are Indian but there are others like Royal Canin and Whiskers that are imported.

A glance at Shoppe’s shelves reveals that description on the packet is interesting too and sometimes nearly similar to human food. Natural and Delicious, an Italian brand for instance, has dry dog food which is mix of oats, blueberry, lamb and low-grain formula. The Italian dog food is in available in different and exotic flavours like pomegranate, etc.

A significant development in pet food is for cats. The felines in the past had lesser choice than dogs for food. But nowadays, cats have tuna flavoured food that is either wet or dry. They also have special munchies where previously there was none. Meanwhile, checking out the prices shows that pet food is not cheap and the rate often depends on the name of the manufacturer. A 3 kg pack of Pedigree costs Rs 500. While for Natural and Delicious the price is Rs 500 for just a 2 kg pack. The most expensive brand appears to be Royal Canin which is an exorbitant Rs 1,700 for a four kg pack.

Demand for pet food, adds the staff at Mandovi Pet Shoppe, is increasing by the day. People are willing to spend money and want to give their pets the best of care. The bestselling brand, point out shop owners, is Pedigree thanks to being around for several years, although customers are willing to go in for newer brands. Meanwhile, besides food for meals, pet chow has improved considerably in the snack segment. The wide variety of chews, biscuits, kebabs, raw hide treats, etc, is mind-boggling.

Shopkeepers point out that several factors are responsible for the pet food usage picking up steadily. Availability is become better these days thanks to a full-fledged industry. The industry is growing and is expected to cross $217 million in India by 2019. Companies are spending more on research to come up with better tasting food. The food in the past was synthetic and smelt artificial which is why people did not want to give it to pets. But with looks of it improving the average mindset is changed.

The veterinary doctor is another reason why the pet food market is growing, with vets actively encouraging owners to go in for commercially prepared food. However, pet food consumption in Goa, although increasing, has a long way to go before reaching the level of consumption abroad. An average pet owner, says a Panaji-based vet, prefers to feed his four-legged canine with chicken curry and rice and sometimes even fish curry.


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