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Yoshio Koshimura,Chairman of Japan Pet Food Association, an Incorporated Association

The national dog and cat ownership survey in 2020, which the Japan Pet Food Association conducts annually since 1993, showed that the number of domesticated dogs slightly decreased to 8.489 million, 96.5% vs. 2019, while the number of domesticated cats remained nearly flat at 9.644 million, 98.6% vs. 2019. According to the pet food industry survey, also conducted by the association every year, the results collected in FY2019 (from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020) showed that the volume of pet food distributed in Japan was estimated at around 593,000 metric tons, 99.8% vs. FY2018, and the manufacturers’ shipment value reached about 319.4 billion yen, 105.6% vs. FY2018. In comparison with 2009, a decade ago, the pet food market by volume decreased to 84.7%, impacted by the decline in the pet population, while the pet food market by value expanded to 118.1% and the average unit price per kilogram rose to 538.7 yen in 2019, 39.3% up from 386.6 yen in 2009. This unit price increase is the result of the association’s member companies' tireless efforts to provide both pets and pet owners with greater satisfaction year after year: they have offered new usage opportunities and created new segments by gaining a deeper understanding of the characteristics of pets living in Japan and identifying what values the pet owners expect from pet food.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak since last year, many people in Japan have been experiencing anxiety and stress, urged to refrain from non-essential outings and to stay and work at home for a lengthy period. The national dog and cat ownership survey in 2020 indicates that the increasing number of families have been welcoming a dog or cat into their home, wishing to improve their living environment. According to the survey, the number of pets - both dogs and cats - owned by new owners within a one year period exhibited an upward trend in 2019 and 2020, after hitting the bottom in 2018. Especially in 2020, the number of new pets - both dogs and cats - increased by more than 14% as compared to the previous year. There has been a tendency that through living with pets, people seek peace of mind, enrich their lives, and facilitate the communication within their family. At the same time, the number of people who are experiencing firsthand the mental or physical health benefits of living with pets has been on the rise again. Last November, we released the publication titled "The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership" from Social Insurance Publication Company, which is the abridged edition of the world-renowned academic journal on the benefits and values of living with pets. Also, the epidemiological study regarding health benefits of pet ownership, which is currently underway in Japan supported by the Pet Food Association, is slated to be released as a research paper within a couple of years. We will share research findings broadly with other organizations in the pet industry and endeavor to generate new needs and demands of pet owners for their better life with pets.

During the COIVD19 pandemic, we have also helped people raise their awareness of hygiene, safety and security, and health. It is easy to imagine that pet owners will become more conscious about choosing food for their pet, a loving member of their family. The Japan Pet Food Association will be committed to working closely with the pet food industry to ensure the compliance with the Pet Food Safety Law and to create an enabling environment for safety and quality improvement so the pet food industry can continue to provide pet food that pets and people living with pets can trust and enjoy. We will also enhance our communication with stakeholders, keeping them updated on the progress of our efforts with greater clarity. Through these activities, we will keep striving to help the pet related industries further grow and develop.
We thank you for your continued support.

Hiromitsu Kodama,
Chairman of Japan Pet Food Association, an Incorporated Association