Japan’s pet industry has a lot of work to do this year in anticipation of a further decline in pet ownership and higher pet food prices.

In his New Year message to members of the Japan Pet Food Association, President Hiromitsu Kodama said that while Japan’s economy is expected to recover this year after the pandemic, the results of the Annual National Survey of The association’s Breeding of Dogs and Cats 2022, released in late December, points to another challenging 12 months for the pet industry.

Perhaps the biggest problem is how interest in pets among the general Japanese population is waning, a trend that started years ago despite pet ownership increasing during the pandemic.

“One of the reasons the number of pet owners is not increasing is the declining desire to own pets. The willingness to have dogs in the future among households that currently do not have dogs is 7% (9.9% in 2019) and 5.5% (7.5% in 2019) for cats, respectively,” he said. Kodama, citing the survey results.

Last year, the number of Japanese households welcoming new cats and dogs increased by more than 10% compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the survey, there were 426,000 new pet dogs in 2022 (350,000 in 2019) and 432,000 new pet cats (394,000 in 2019). The year closed with 7,053,000 dogs and 8,837,000 cats or 15.89 million dogs and cats kept as pets across Japan.

Kodama said last year’s high costs had a big impact on the pet industry, with pet food companies raising their prices by 3% to 10%, some even more. The rate of increase, Kodama added, affected consumer product selection which, for the association, provided an opportunity to promote its member companies’ high-value products for pets that can use healthier, gourmet-style diets.

Last October, another survey conducted by the association revealed that the average Japanese dog owner spent 5,257 yen (almost $40) on monthly food and treats (a 2.9% increase from 2021), while the owner of a cat generally paid 4233 yen (about $32) for the same (a 2.1% decrease from 2021).

Kodama said the association will strive this year to increase demand for pet food to a pre-pandemic level by encouraging its members to offer new value propositions and promoting the benefits of regularly feeding pets safe pet food. and of quality. The association, for its part, will try to counter the decline in pet breeding and ownership and stimulate demand by continuously promoting the physical value, psychological value and social value of life with pets, Kodama added.

Alma Buelva is a journalist from the Philippines. When she’s not writing about business and technology, she spends her time taking care of animals and also writing about them.