By Phil Wahba
March 21, 2018

Foodmakers are finding dogs (and cats) to be their best friends.

When General Mills recently announced an $8 billion deal for Blue Buffalo Pet Products, maker of some of the top natural pet food brands in the U.S., it became the latest food giant to turn to four-legged consumers for growth.

In 2017, Mars bought pet care provider VCA for $9 billion, after snapping up Procter & Gamble pet food brands like Iams in 2014 for $3 billion. It also followed J.M. Smucker, which bought Big Heart Pet Brands for $5.8 billion in 2015 in its largest deal ever.

The reason for all this kibble capital investment? The $30.6 billion U.S. pet food market is expected to grow 2.3% a year over the next five years, according to Euromonitor, easily outpacing the 1% clip for packaged human food. And much of that growth will come from the premium side of the business as humans project their gourmet appetites onto Fido and Felix.

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