Pet food marketing blitz reveals driver of growth in Chinese salmon demand

Whiskas pet food for sale in a Chinese supermarket
Whiskas pet food for sale in a Chinese supermarket | Photo courtesy of on the road again/Shutterstock
4 Min

The cat and dog food segment has become a primary driver of growth for seafood sales in the Chinese marketplace.

There has been a boom in pet ownership in China, coupled with urbanization and changing lifestyle trends, including the rise in singledom and childless couples. Pet stores have cropped up all over major Chinese cities, and major pet food brands have sought to capitalize on the boom through huge marketing campaigns.

One such campaign, launched by the German-based Hunter Group through its Chinese subsidiary, features giant billboards promoting salmon as a nutrient-trich diet for pets on Beijing’s number 15 subway line.

American conglomerate the Mars Group is also running a promotional campaign for its Whiskas brand in outlets of the Jingkelong supermarket chain across Beijing through April. Salmon-flavored cat biscuits are selling for CNY 8.16 (USD 1.14, EUR 1.06) per 66-gram pack in Jingkelong outlets across the capital. Whiskas also sells 400-gram cans of salmon-flavored cat food for CNY 13.12 (USD 1.83, EUR 1.70) at Jingkelong outlets.

A cat owner, surnamed Gao, told SeafoodSource in the Tuanjiehu outlet she was drawn by marketing suggesting the salmon product was good for cats’ dental health.

Another Mars brand stocked by the store, Sheba, comes in 12-gram sachets of salmon-flavored cat food.

Pet food could potentially be a major driver of demand for various grades of salmon in China. The national petfood market is tipped to grow an average 10.2 percent per year between 2024 and 2029, according to the Mordor Intelligence research agency, which values the sector at CNY 11.4 billion (USD 1.6 billion, EUR 1.5 billion).

China’s pet food sector has also been a boon to major krill-fishing firms like Aker BioMarine, which provide krill as an ingredient in pet food and animal feed. Other players marketing fish-based cat food include the Jiangxi-based Miao Da Da brand, which uses freshwater fish such as carp. 

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