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Ice Cream for Dogs: Pet Parents Are Springing for Human-Like Treats

Pet Parents Are Springing for Human-Like Treats

Pet parents are splurging on products and experiences that treat their dogs like their human relatives.

Ollie, a company specializing in human-grade dog food, announced Tuesday (May 21) via emailed press release a partnership with premium ice cream brand Van Leeuwen to sell its first ice cream for dogs. The treat is available at Van Leeuwen shops, through Petco, or directly through Ollie as an add-on for subscribers. Additionally, new Ollie subscribers will receive a free pint for a limited period in June.

“A growing number of Americans think of their dog as a member of the family, and that can be seen in every single decision they make as a pet parent,” Ollie Chief Marketing Officer Hillary Benjamin told PYMNTS in an interview. “Everything from the food that you want to feed them to where they sleep — they no longer sleep outdoors, they sleep in your bed. It’s driven an explosion in new businesses who are catering to these pet parents who want to pamper and protect their dogs as if they were a human.”

She added that the ice cream for dogs comes in response to customer demand for more limited-edition releases, with ice cream being at the “top of that list” of pet treats consumers were asking for.

“As Gen Z and millennials become a greater share of pet parents, there’s this trend of premiumization,” Benjamin noted.

These pet parents are more discerning about the ingredients that go into their animals’ food and more concerned about how the products they feed their pets might affect their health, she said.

Consumers are willing to spring for high-quality pet products even at times when they are trading down in their own lives. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report: Consumers Cut Back by Trading Down,” which drew from a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, found that 47% of shoppers had switched to a less expensive merchant for at least one grocery product. Yet while 33% had downgraded on merchants from which to buy their personal care products, and 32% had downgraded for snacks, only 19% of grocery shoppers had switched to less expensive merchants for pet food and supplies.

Additionally, the study found that 36% of grocery shoppers shifted to purchasing cheaper alternatives of the same products, such as store brands. Yet supplemental research from the report revealed that while 26% of consumers did so for their own snacks and 25% for their own sugary treats, only 12% of shoppers had begun purchasing lower-quality pet food and supplies — a smaller share than said the same of any other kind of grocery purchase.

“What surprises me is the disproportionate amount of their disposable income that pet parents spend on their dog,” Benjamin said. “… People will do whatever it takes to give their dog the healthiest and happiest life. They’re willing to do the right thing for their dog, even if that means they’re spending a little bit more than you might think that they could.”

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