More than ever, dogs are appreciated as man’s best friend. With over 78m dogs in the US and 432m worldwide (WSPA estimate), dogs are becoming a valued addition in many households. At the same time, the way we treat them is changing too, most notably in the area of nutrition. Just as attitudes to our own nutrition are evolving, so are attitudes to our pets’ nutrition. Our tendency to anthropomorphize our pets means that the way we feed them can be affected by more general food trends … for example, wanting to give them more vegetables or avoid artificial additives.

This was the context for a range of work conducted on pet food. We undertook extensive research to give our clients insights into current human food attitudes and trends, as a basis for a significant new product development initiative. To begin with, we recruited leading chefs and foodies into an online community to explore current food language and the balance between pleasure and healthy nutrition. Following this, we set up online communities of pet owners in the USA, UK and Australia to explore the role of food in their relationship with their pets. As new product ideas were developed, we provided further in person qualitative research to test and refine product concepts, as well as to create a basis for enhancing the brand’s portfolio.