Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 89

Your center store pet project!
Why center store holds one of the most valuable categories in your store

here's a lot that keeps you up at night. And while the center
store may actually be one of your worries, it actually houses
a category with tremendous potential to ease your mind.

T

It's the pet care aisle. And there's a great case to be made
that it's not just any category in grocery, but one of those that
should matter most.

Impressive size and growth. At $63 billion strong, pet
care isn't just ranked 8th out of 305 supermarket categories by
IRI InfoScan, it's also growing two times that of the overall
center store, according to Nielsen Scantrack data.
In fact, the voice of the industry, the American Pet Products
Association (APPA), says the sector has been averaging $2.5
billion in growth each year since 1994.
Pet care also has the potential to boost store traffic, triggering
more trips to the grocery store than any other category, according to a Nielsen shopper study.
Surprisingly, though, grocers haven't made the
most of their pet care prospects, squeezing out
center aisles in recent years to expand their perimeters instead.
And while that's being done to capture interest in
better-for-you foods, it's often at the expense of
the center store and store profitability overall.

Ahead of the trends. The great news is that the pet
manufacturers are well positioned to meet these expectations,
and they're improving quality of life for people and pets in more
ways than one.
Take health and safety. Category leaders have invested heavily
in nutrition with offerings that are now on par and even more
affordable than those at specialty stores: Super premium pet
food, for instance, was once seen as out of reach for many.
Innovation has also been a focus, with tailored nutrition taking
center stage to target the health needs of specific breeds and pets.
So why wouldn't every grocer spend more time in pet? Particularly when many of the same trends that have made categories
like the baby aisle darlings of retailers are prevalent in pets,
too-in many cases, more so.

Pets are babies, too. Take the fact that more U.S.
households own a pet than have babies living in them (68 percent have pets, according to APPA, whereas just
30 percent have kids).
Pet parents' relationship with the pet care aisle
is also longer-lived. A 2015-2016 APPA survey
shows pet parents shop the pet aisle for 19 years
over the lifetime of their pet, versus the few years
parents spend in the baby aisle for each child.

For one thing, there's the emotional side of the
category. Baby Boomers were the first to humanize
their pets, but, now, most everyone considers their pets a part of
the family.

Then there's the fact that, while Millennials are
waiting longer to have kids (age 26, on average), they're getting pets by age 21, according to
Wakefield Research. And with $430 billion in
discretionary spending, according to the Boston
Consulting Group, you can bet they're going to be making an
even bigger impact on pet care going forward.

Pet parents are also insisting on the same health and wellness
offerings they're demanding for themselves, and they're spending more to get them: The lifetime value of a pet owner's retail
purchases totals $14,000, according to APPA, up 27 percent
since 2008.

Any way you look at it, there's a real growth prospect here. It's
just a matter of embracing pet care, getting better acquainted
with pet shoppers, and working with category leaders to unleash
the opportunity that will unmistakably have you sitting pretty as
top dog. Remember, if you're not winning in pet, you're losing. n

Unique in center store. Pet care is different
than most center store aisles, though.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - August 2017

Contents
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Intro
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - CT1
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - CT2
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover1
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover2
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 3
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 4
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Contents
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 6
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 7
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