Walmart is getting into the premium pet-food business.
Marking the start of National Pet Month, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer announced the debut of Pro+, a line of tailored-nutrition offerings under the company's Pure Balance pet-food private label. Pure Balance launched in 2012 with items such as dry dog food free from wheat, artificial colors and preservatives, and chicken byproducts. The Pro+ line expands Walmart's premium pet-food selection with veterinarian-formulated dog and cat foods targeting specific nutrition concerns: weight management, for example, or older-pet wellness.
"We're constantly evolving to meet customer needs and support new trends, and one that continues to grow is the humanization of pets," Walmart U.S. VP of Pets Melody Richard wrote in a blog post on the company's website. "We’re treating our pets like we would any other member of our family, and that means giving them high-quality, premium products that help promote health and wellness."
Walmart's move to outprice other premium pet-food brands comes as consumers increasingly are seeking out premium, personalized, functional fare for their pets. A report from the American Pet Products Association found that 43% of U.S. dog owners and 41% of U.S. cat owners said they buy premium pet food. The association's 2020 State of the Industry report, released in March, also notes that sales of pet food and treats climbed 9.7% last year.
The Pro+ products also debut about six months after the launch of Walmart Pet Care, which offers discounted pet insurance plans as well as pet-sitting and dog-walking services.