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G.A.P. Animal Welfare Certification & Pet Food:

Because all animals matter

The G.A.P. team just returned from SuperZoo, the pet industry’s largest annual trade show hosted by the World Pet Association. SuperZoo is a great way to connect with our existing pet food partners, as well as meet new brands looking to add the G.A.P. Animal Welfare Certified label to their products. We were thrilled to see so many new brands focusing on high quality, humanely sourced pet food and treats. The pandemic has accelerated the trend of healthy, responsibly sourced human and pet food options. It’s a shift in consumer demand that isn’t going away.

Pet Food Trends

If you’ve been to a pet store recently, you’ve probably noticed the pet food aisle is changing. Consumers care deeply about the food and treats they are giving their pets and sourcing is key. In the May issue of PetFood Industry magazine, there was an article citing consumer data from surveys conducted by Purina and Chewy. In the Purina survey, 92% of pet owners said they are interested in learning more about where ingredients for their pet’s food is sourced. Pet owners are definitely reading labels. On average, they know the same amount of information about where their pet’s food is sourced as they do about their own. In fact, 68% of Gen-Z pet parents say they care more about where their pet’s food comes from than their own! Now that’s love. (1)

In the Chewy consumer study, they uncovered similar findings. 73% of pet owners said their pets’ health is just as important as anyone else in their family and 70% make food choices for their pets in the same way they do their own. And 87% said it’s important for to check the ingredients list on package labels and product descriptions. (1)

Pandemic-led growth

Pet ownership in 2020 rose to 70% of US households, an all-time high. Millennials are the largest segment of pet owners at around 32%. This increase in pet ownership means that consumers are spending more money on pet food and supplies. In fact, the pet industry hit a new milestone in 2020 – over $100 billion in sales. According to the latest APPA National Pet Owners Survey, humanization, premiumization and sustainability are at the forefront of pet owners’ purchasing decisions as 50% of consumers weighed these factors as most important. (2)(3)

G.A.P. Certification for pet food

It’s not surprising that pet parents are looking for foods that meet the same standards they already choose for themselves. After all, many of the same farms that feed us also supply the pet industry. Farms making the investment in higher quality feed, a better environment for the animals, and better management throughout the lifecycle of their animals sell their products at a premium compared to conventionally-raised products. And consumers are voting with their wallets. Many are willing to pay more for products with premium attributes and meaningful certifications for themselves, as well as for their pets.

Buying G.A.P. Animal Welfare Certified pet food is a great way to support the same farms and companies that are supplying high quality products in meat departments and restaurants, as you are helping spread the costs of farm certification across more and more products in the store, encouraging more supply from farms looking to lead the way in farm animal welfare.

Pet brands making a difference 

Many G.A.P. Certified farms and ranches supply ingredients to our pet partner brands: Tender & True, Open Farm, Fresh Pet (Nature’s Fresh), Halo Pet, Earth Animal, Canidae, Only Natural Pet, Nugget’s Healthy Eats, Happy ‘N Healthy Whole Paws, and Wild Patagonian treats. For these pioneering brands, G.A.P. sets the standard for how animals are raised on-farm: standards around the amount of space the animals have, the type and management of indoor and outdoor environments in which they live, and the type of enrichments they are given (like perches for poultry and wallows for pigs). G.A.P. uses third-party certifiers to audit each and every farm to ensure the standards are being met.

What’s also unique about G.A.P.’s program is that we create standards, and certify products, according to our 5-Step® Animal Welfare Certification tiers specific to each type of meat ingredient (e.g., beef, pork, chicken, etc.). When you see our G.A.P. label on pet food, here’s what those different labels mean:

G.A.P. label lineup

At G.A.P., we believe that quality begins with better farm animal welfare. The G.A.P. Animal Welfare Certified label is a differentiator for premium pet food products looking to add a meaningful claim to their high-quality products. Visit our G.A.P. Pet Page and learn more about our program and how you can source G.A.P. Certified ingredients for your pet food and treats. You can also email us at


  1. PetFood Industry magazine, “Chewy, Purina Surveys on Premiumization and Transparency”, May 2021
  2. Pet Business, “Understanding Today’s Pet Owner”, June 1, 2021
  3. 2021-22 APPA National Pet Owners Survey .