Pet food production exceeds 1 million tons amid rapid rise in pet ownership

Domestic production of pet food exceeded 1 million tons for the first time in 2021, with output reaching 1.13 million tons, according to the China Feed Industry Association. Total output last year rose 17.3% compared to 2020.

The year-on-year growth rate in 2021 also accelerated from the 2020 level of 10.6%. 

Pet ownership is rising rapidly in China as younger generations delay having children. In 2021, dog ownership rose by 4% and cat ownership surged 19.4%. Related spending soared 21.2% and 19.9% respectively.  

Imports of pet food have risen sharply in recent years, climbing from 17k tons in 2017 to 97k tons in 2021. Imports in January through July 2022 reached 55k tons, up 3.5% compared to the same period in 2021.  

Canada, the US, and Thailand represent 79% of all imports in 2021, accounting for 49%, 17%, and 13% respectively. 

While a comparatively small market compared to feed demand for livestock, pet food demand is seeing incredibly rapid growth both in terms of domestic production and imports. Pet ownership among younger generations is rising rapidly, and consumer are often willing to pay large premiums for imported products that they perceive as safer.