In the past, dogs would have to beg at the table for a taste of fine dining. Those days are long gone.
Every year, more pets are seeing their kibble replaced with premium pet food, which includes freeze-dried and fresh options. In the past ten years, the premium pet food market has grown at twice the rate of the regular pet food market. And nearly 50% of dog owners have decided to spend on premium food options for their pooch.
Sure, pet owners may have to dole out more money to purchase gourmet entrees for their pets, but in today's pet landscape, that is mattering less and less. People are accepting pets as members of the family, and consequently, have raised the standards for their loyal companions.
"Pet parents want their animals to eat something as good as they're eating," says Phillip Cooper, president of the consulting firm Pet Industry Expert. "It's the alternative to table scraps."
One company providing gourmet pet options is FreshPet (FRPT) . Though the company's stock has had a rough go over the past year -- down about 38% since July 8, 2015 -- FreshPet remains a popular name among pet owners. The company manufactures refrigerated food and treats for pets and uses fresh meats and vegetables as ingredients. And FreshPet's taste test video is to be believed, the company's pet food is good enough for human beings to eat as well.
MainStreet's Ross Kenneth Urken and I recently decided to see whether or not FreshPet's dog food could really hold a candle to human food. With the help of TheStreet's video team, we set up our own taste test at my house, comparing FreshPet's turkey dog food--with spinach, cranberries and blueberries all included in the recipe--to regular turkey cold cuts. Ross did a blind taste test, but I kept my eyes open so that we wouldn't both be groping around the table for our food like a couple of fools.