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Tail-Wagging Trends: Four-Legged Family. Members Enjoy Pet Food With Epicurean Polish

For many people, the estimated 73 million dogs in America aren’t just pets, they’re family members. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), 78 percent of owners consider their dog an “equal member” of the family. Thus, pet parents want to ensure their dogs are not only healthy-but happy.

The latest innovations in pet products and services evidence the growing humanization of pets trend-from couture clothing, puppy showers and spa treatments to new family-style food for dogs made with real, wholesome ingredients. In 2005, more than $35.9 billion was spent on pets in the U.S., $14.5 billion of that on food alone.

“One of the biggest trends we’re seeing among pet owners is the desire to feed their dogs the way they feed themselves-choosing food that is made with real, high-quality ingredients that offer the perfect balance of taste and nutrition,” says Steve Crimmins, vice president of dog food marketing for Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.

To meet this demand, Beneful brand dog food, one of the most successful premium dog foods on the market, looked to highly involved pet owners to create their ideal dog food from virtually a farmer’s market buffet of real ingredients.

Beneful nutritionists then adapted the recipes to ensure they provided complete and balanced nutrition for dogs and puppies. The result is the introduction of the first-ever prepared meals for dogs that add epicurean polish to pet food. Beneful® Prepared Meals™ offers family-style food for dogs made with real, wholesome ingredients including succulent real meat and poultry, wild rice, barley, pasta, spinach, green beans and carrots.

The new pet food is available in eight varieties that are packaged in a clear, ready-to-serve, resealable plastic container-a packaging first in the pet food industry. Now pet owners can see the quality of the product they are purchasing in the pet food aisle and the difference is clear.