Custom pet food subscriptions: here to stay?

26 Jul 2021

Rhino Ventures Asia Careers Details

Nowadays, pets are more than just the four-legged friends that greet you when you come home. They are family – you throw them a birthday party, bring them on vacations, let them sleep on your bed, and sometimes, you care for them more than you would a person.

Pet owners are committed to providing the needs of their fur babies, most especially when it comes to food. There’s a lot of talk about the right pet food in the market but it all boils down to giving what’s best for your pet – although sometimes, knowing what is best isn’t as easy as choosing what’s on your grocer’s top-shelf.

Consumers are realising that although certain brands have been in the market for quite a while, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice. What’s more, the pet food market is getting more saturated than ever. Companies would label their products as “complete and balanced”, but are they really?

The increasing number of recalled pet food brands doesn’t help either. In 2020 alone, 18 dog food brands were recalled due to containing unsafe levels of a toxin called aflatoxin. Issues such as this add to the increasing doubt and fears of pet owners. This is where the beauty of custom pet food subscription services kick in.

What makes custom pet food subscription so appealing to pet owners?

More and more pet owners are looking to buy less from commercial brands to feed their pets. They want more options to ensure that what they feed their dogs are healthy, nutritious and good for their lifestyle.

If you look into custom pet food subscriptions, you can already tick off one box from there – quality food. Pet owners aren’t ones to back down from quality. Knowing that a specialist prepares a healthy meal plan for your dog is enough for owners to give in. More than that, the meal plan is delivered straight to your door, weekly or monthly, it’s all up to you. Add that to the accessibility of subscription services, it’s a done deal.

Drawing focus on offering personalisation and customisation – above providing convenience – pet food subscription service providers have hallowed in on the perfect marketing strategy to make it big and successful in the industry.

How eCommerce helped in the rise of custom pet food subscription services

The growing demand for pet food through the years was significantly heightened by the convenience eCommerce brought to the market. More importantly, the development of eCommerce has inspired pet food brands to tap into the trend of customisation, giving pet owners more power in controlling what goes into their pet’s diet.

It’s a win-win situation and if you look closely at some of the brands who have been successful in the pet food subscription industry, you know it’s here to stay.

“We are currently serving over 9 million tailor-made meals a month and have around 200,000 dogs signed up on” – James Davidson, co-founder and CEO of

Tails is a UK-based dog food subscription that believes every dog is different and should be provided with the nutrients its body needs. They’re one of the pioneers in custom pet food subscriptions and have continued to dominate the market.

To get started with Tails’ subscription service, customers are first asked to provide information on their dog’s age, breed, size, and any health issues and goals. Tails will then create a unique kibble recipe to cater to the dog’s needs, including delicious wet food and healthy treats, and adjust the dog’s meal plan accordingly. Tails understands that your dog’s needs change as they age so over time, they will adapt the unique recipe to help support your dog.

Tails also has a dedicated team to help you with any questions regarding the meal plan that is best for your dog.


“I’m a dog owner, I have 2 Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs. I could never find the best for them in one place, and I came to realize that the online pet market was cold, transactional, and lacked personalization and a human feeling.” - André Jordão, founder and CEO of Barkyn

Barkyn is another subscription service for dogs that was first launched in Portugal in 2017. Since then, they’ve grown to ship more than 40 tons of pet food every month and have raised €1.7 million in seed funding to expand more in Europe.

What’s great about Barkyn is that it is more than just a subscription service for dog food and toys. They’ve also developed a service that combines customized pet food and telemedicine where owners will have access to licensed veterinarians to ask for any health questions regarding their dog’s diet.

To provide top-quality food, Barkyn uses local ingredients as well as all-natural and locally-produced fruits and vegetables to create their recipes. Some of the recipes they offer are chicken, salmon, wild boar and lamb, and chicken light. Also included is the special formula they call Barkyn Complex. It’s a unique supplement made from Boswellia extract, green tea, turmeric, clove, and the antioxidant power of rosemary to provide your dog with essential health benefits such as prevention of cellular damage, elimination of free radicals, immune system boost, body repairs, and inflammation reduction.

Barkyn offers three subscription levels depending on a customer’s budget. Pop is the most cost-efficient while Natura is on the pricier side. Premium is a balance between the two.


“Tailored is here to help make consumers’ lives easier and their pets’ lives better by providing them with the best nutrition for their furry family members without ever requiring them to leave the comfort and safety of their homes.” – Steve Joyce, CEO of Tailored Pet Nutrition

Tailored is a group of pet nutrition experts and pet parents who decided to work together to solve a problem by providing the right dog food that is made to cater to each dog’s unique wellness needs. They believe in providing top-quality recipes that are always priced fairly.

Backed by leading innovators and pet lovers, the team at Tailored spent years studying pet nutrition and how humans can better take care of their little furry friends. To guarantee high-quality dog food, their meal plans are made with the best ingredients as well as farm-grown vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals. Each blend is formulated and safely cooked by leading pet experts for nutritional quality.

Tailored also provides fast, flexible, and FREE delivery! Their subscriptions are also hassle-free and promise pet owners their money back if they’re not 100% happy.

Why choose custom pet food subscriptions?

Just like humans, food plays an important role in a pet’s health. Nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins are essential to a pet’s regular diet and play a role in all of the basic functions of the body.

Unlike conventional pet stores online, the key feature of custom pet food subscriptions is personalisation. It is about understanding that no dog is the same and although some are of the same breed, the health, and lifestyle of every dog are different.

Custom pet food subscriptions take personalisation seriously and aside from convenience, as a pet owner, it is about having the assurance that the food you are feeding your dog provides them with the exact nutrients they need to supplement their lifestyle.

Moreover, most custom pet food subscriptions have an additional service where customers can consult professional veterinarians about any concerns about their dog’s diet. This alone makes pet owners feel well taken care of and would avoid worries about the safety of their pets.

Are custom pet food subscription services here to stay?

It’s no secret that the pet industry is a big and successful one.

Reports show that the global pet care market has grown to $232 billion in 2021 compared to $216 billion in 2020. In the US alone, it is currently worth $99 billion, with pet food and treats leading the way.

Significantly enough, there was an increase in the number of consumers buying subscription boxes since the pandemic started and it has not changed the lifestyle only of humans, but of pets as well. A big number of pet owners avoided brick and mortar shops because of the pandemic, but have stayed with online purchasing for convenience.

Will custom pet food subscription services continue to grow?

Even before the start of COVID, there was an increase in pet food eCommerce which was reported to be growing 53% every year. But the pandemic clearly has accelerated this growth even more – according to, there was a 28% increase in pet food subscription purchases from February to March alone in 2020. The rise in spending on premium pet food is also worth looking at. Pet owners are willing to pay extra to get good quality food for their pets. In a survey conducted by Packed Facts, people who purchased higher-priced pet food are more likely to purchase online.

Looking at the combined statistics of pet food eCommerce and the number of pet owners who are willing to pay more for higher quality food, we can say the future of custom pet food subscription services are bright.

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