US President George W Bush has reason to be a worried man. Not only are some Indians eating more and better, and driving up food prices, even their dogs and cats are doing better. Indians spent $20 million in feeding their pets in 2004 – a figure that went up to $29 million in 2007.
By comparison, Americans spent $15.2 billion in feeding their cats and dogs last year as opposed to $13.8 billion in 2004, euromonitor.com said. But, the worrying factor for President Bush could be that Indians are joining the race to buy packaged pet food.
More entrants to the Indian middle class have pets – all this might push up the prices of dog and cat food in the US.
“A surging middle class, ongoing free-market reform, double-digit increases in dog ownership…guarantee strong performance in this emerging market for the foreseeable future,” Petfood 2011: the global outlook said.
“Local operators forecast a growth rate of 25-35 per cent per year for at least the next two years, with the most growth at the economy-end of the product-pricing spectrum as more mid-level consumers shift from homemade to prepared pet food,” the June 2007 report said.
The other key factor in India’s rapid growth is the strong role of veterinarians in educating consumers and selling pet food, with vets currently accounting for as much as 44 per cent of sales of commercially prepared foods, it added.
Speaking in Missouri on May 2, President Bush had said there was increasing demand for food worldwide, which caused a spike in prices. “There are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That’s bigger than America…and when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food.”