Pet Foods and Socio-Economic Class

In spite of what the title might suggest, eating pet food will not alter one's socio-economic class.  The subject here is about the food that a man (or woman) gives to his (or her) best friend.  

We will begin by looking at the incidences of pet ownership.  Our reference source will be the 2004 TGI Peru study.  This is a survey of 3,000 households in Lima which were interviewed during 2004.  Among the survey households, 43% owned dogs and 16% owned cats.

The chart below showed the incidences of pet ownership separately by socio-economic level.  This incidences increased down the socio-economic ladder, so pet ownership is distinctly not a luxury item.

(source: 2004 TGI Peru)

What do the pet owners feed their best friends?  There are several options.  First, in the United States, it may be common practice to purchase pet foods from grocery stores, specialty stores and the like.  Pet foods for dogs and cats come in either dry or moist forms, and have been designed by nutrition experts to satisfy the dietary and nutritional needs of the pets.  Second, the pets are in fact treated as family members and are given whatever comes off the family dining table.  Third, the least 'humane' option would be to provide nothing for the pets, and make them go out and scavenge for themselves.

The subject of this article is about the purchase of pet foods.  According to the 2004 TGI Peru study, the incidences are as follows.  

Why do some pet owners buy pet food and others don't?  The two charts below show that a major driving factor is the socio-economic level.  For a household living near subsistence level, the cost of pet foods will erode the family's own food budget, and it is 'inhumane' to prioritize the pets above the humans.  This is a straight economic case, and certainly poses a problem for the pet food marketers -- there are indeed large number of pet owners in the third-world developing countries, but there people are often those who can ill afford to purchase pet foods.

(source: 2004 TGI Peru)

(source: 2004 TGI Peru)

(posted by Roland Soong, 11/09/2004)

(Return to Zona Latina's Home Page)