This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 11/9/2018

Pet Products


 201420152016 (Estimated)2017
Total Local Production---------------
Total Exports27,565241,44718,986TDC
Total Imports61,09150,87244,283TDC
Import from the US1,2881,241N/ATDC
Total Markets Size2,4402,280N/ATDC
Exchange Rates0.900.900.940.94

The Italian market for pet food and care products is strong and continues to grow in value and volume despite the economic crisis affecting the sector over the past few years. Italy, with a population of 60 million people, has a pet population of 60 million and more than three out of ten Italian families own at least one pet. As a result of Italy’s changing demographics, family structure and regard for animals, the role of pets has changed over the years. This increased number and importance of pets translates into greater care and higher expenditures for food, health, accessories, and services.

According to Euromonitor data, the Italian pet products market grew by 4% in 2015, reaching sales of over $670 million. Compared to other European countries including France, Germany, UK, Spain and the Netherlands, Italy’s pet care and food product growth rate of 2.2% is higher than the European average. The Italian market for cat and dog food grew slightly in 2016 with a combined turnover of $2.2 billion and a total volume of 559,200 tons sold. Italians spent $1.1 billion on cat food (53.2% of the market) and $1 billion on dog food (46.8% of the market), as well as $155 million on snacks and treats, an increase of 10% over 2015 statistics. This dynamic growth is thanks to snacks for oral hygiene, with hygiene treatments reporting 25% growth.

Italy is an interesting and lucrative market for U.S. pet care and food products as demand continues to increase. Leading factors for this growth include the increased importance of pets in Italian families and better marketing via large-scale outlets and specialized stores. Demand for healthcare products, branded clothing and beauty products, as well as natural or premium products is growing. Statistics indicates that Italian pet owners are more likely to treat their pets with greater care, for example by choosing special foods tailored to the pet’s specific nutritional requirements, resulting in higher demand for premium and super premium pet food.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Pet owners devote special attention to the health of their pets and increasingly demand specific types of pet food. As a result, besides premium and super-premium food, different products according to breed, size and age and a wide variety of pet foods that meet very specific needs related to lifestyle (high-energy or light diets) and health condition (for diets that prevent allergies or address certain diseases) are increasingly popular in the Italian market. Italian demand for dog and cat food has become more "specialized." A current trend involves natural and holistic pet food products, which guarantee either natural or biological ingredients without artificial food coloring or preservatives. Many consumers prefer snacks and treats that are preservative-free and contain healthy ingredients such as fruit and cereals.

The pet care market also continues to benefit from increased attention to the wellbeing of pets, which are increasingly considered as family members deserving high quality products. In the market for pet care products, best prospects include health and anti-parasitic agents and leashes, hypoallergenic and biodegradable beauty products formulated with organic extracts, brushes, bones and dental chews. Pet hygiene products and anti-parasite remedies are particularly on the rise.

In 2016, the accessories segment (toys, leashes, beds, bowls and dishes, cages, aviaries, aquariums, tortoise homes, and various tools) increased by 6% value with a turnover of $80 million. Best sellers among accessories to penetrate the Italian market include cat beds and pillows, toys, leashes, bowls, cages, aviaries and aquariums. The market for luxury pet products has also grown, particularly due to sales of clothes, jackets and raincoats, cushions, hairclips and collars, carriers and fashionable hats typically sold in specialized pet boutique shops. For the Italian pet luxury market in particular, it is crucial that products are innovative and are of original and aesthetic design.

Exporting Pet Food and Feed to Italy and the EU

Pet food is highly regulated in the European Union to conform to the highest standards of hygiene, safety and quality. In the EU, pet food is subject to feed marketing legislation and veterinary legislation. The EU’s feed marketing legislation covers food for pets as well as feed for food-producing animals. Pet food products containing an animal origin ingredient must be sourced from approved establishments and have to be accompanied by a veterinary certificate.

All exports of U.S. pet food to the EU must comply with EU requirements including rules on labeling, hygiene, animal health, certification and the use of additives. European Parliament and Council Regulation 767/2009 sets rules for the labeling and marketing of feed and pet food, covering feed materials, compound feed and medicated or dietetic feed for both food and non-food producing animals. Feed and pet food not complying with Regulation 767/2009 and with the provisions on feed additives laid down in Regulation 1831/2003 are not allowed on the EU market. Conditions for mixing veterinary medicine into feed are set out in Directive 90/167/EEC. In September 2014, the European Commission presented a proposal to replace the outdated Directive 90/167/EEC on medicated feed. The scope of the proposal explicitly includes medicated feed for pets. EU border inspection officials will verify the labels on imported pet food for compliance with EU requirements. Annex 4 to the "Code of Good Labeling Practice for Pet Food," drafted by the European Pet Food Industry (FEDIAF) establishes a "check-list" that pet food manufacturers can use to verify compliance with EU labeling rules.

Commission Regulation 68/2013 establishes a catalogue of feed materials. It enables operators to use more precise names and expressions for the feed they place on the market. The annex to the Catalogue contains three parts: A) general provision, B) glossary of processes and C) list of feed materials. The use of the Catalog is voluntary but where it is used all relevant provisions have to be complied with. Commission Recommendation 2011/25/EU established guidelines for the distinction between feed materials, feed additives, biocidal products and veterinary medicinal products.

Data Source:

U.S. Department of Agriculture FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service), U.S. Embassy Rome.


Zoomark International 2019: May TBC, 2019 Bologna Fiere, Italy

The Zoomark trade fair is the largest pet product show in Italy and the second most important pet products show in Europe. Zoomark alternates years with the largest show Interzoo in Nuremberg, Germany which is certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Zoomark draws exhibitors from over 40 countries as well as 22,760 qualified buyers and visitors from 82 countries. In 2015 nearly all exhibitors saw immediate sales and/or agreements. The U.S. Commercial Service in Milan has been organizing a U.S. Pavilion at Zoomark since 1997, in cooperation with the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service Office in Rome. Since 2015 B-For International ( has managed the U.S. Pavilion. CS staff based in Milan can provide both exhibitors and other U.S. visitors a range of export-promotion services aimed at assisting your entry to or increase of your presence in the Italian and international markets.

U.S. Pavilion organizer at Zoomark:

B-For International

Anna Shaw - Zoomark International USA Representative


Phone: +1(540)373-9935

Web Resources

The major U.S. Trade Associations in the pet sector are:

American Pet Products Association (APPA):

World Pet Association (WPA):

Pet Food Institute:

The major Italian Associations in the pet sector are:



U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA) office at the American Embassy in Rome, Italy:

Dana Biasetti, Senior Agricultural Specialist;

U.S. Commercial Service Contacts:

Valentina Massari, Commercial Assistant

U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Consulate Milan

Tel: +39 026268 8507


Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Italy Pet Foods and Supplies Trade Development and Promotion