At Guru our focus is very much on dogs. Now, that might sound like something you’d expect from a dog food company, but the ethos of Guru is founded on a love of dogs and a desire to improve their health and longevity.
My husband Andrew and I were “home feeders” for 20 years, which saw us literally cooking our dogs’ food from scratch using natural ingredients that would provide all the nutrients they needed to thrive.
We were convinced that this approach was best for our dogs’ wellbeing, but the time consuming element was becoming an increasing issue thanks to our busy working lives.
One day, whilst sat in traffic on the M6 trying to instruct my mother what to cook for our dogs, it struck us that there must be an alternative option. One that offered the same nutritious content, but without the same level of time consumption? And, if so, we surely weren’t the only ones looking to solve this problem.
This lead us on a path of research and discovery – which culminated in the founding of Guru! We specialise in cold-pressed dog food. Cold-pressed is a little-known, yet traditional method of dog food production. Thanks to a combination of premium ingredients and low cooking temperatures, it preserves all of the nutrients; offering all the benefits of a dog’s natural diet, without the lengthy preparation.
But while we know this to be the case, many dog owners don’t. At Guru, we’re now into our second year as a business and during that time we’ve interacted with thousands of dog owners and dog lovers. This interaction has demonstrated a real disparity in knowledge. Some owners have a solid understanding of a dog’s nutritional requirements, others have a rudimental knowledge, at best. What are they looking for in their dog food choice? Is it nutritional content? Is it simply price?
In conducting this research, we hope to establish what really matters to dog owners. We want to understand just what it is that they’re looking for. And, consequently, we want to be able to provide a product that ticks the right boxes for them and their pets.
Co-founder and Owner, of Guru.
This study is based on a detailed online survey of 2,000 dog owners from across the United Kingdom, with a broad age-range, from 18 to 55+ years old. Of the people asked, 48.8 percent were male and 51.2 percent were female.
It’s worth noting that some of the questions posed were multiple choice, which may cause some of the percentages mentioned below to add up to more than 100%.
A half of all dog owners purchase dog food on a weekly basis and spend between £11 – £30 a time. At the top of this range, that potentially equates to £1,440 per year (or £120 per month) per person.
20 percent have used the same dog food brand for the past five years. A further 20 percent have used the same brand for the last two – five years. 50 percent of dog owners surveyed feed their current dog the same food as their previous dog. There were no surprises in the choices for most popular food – with 75 percent opting for “dry kibble”, and 64 percent opting for wet. In regards to evaluating their dog’s food, 50 percent said they do so “now and again”, 16.5 percent said that they do so “rarely” and 7 percent admitted to never having reviewed it. Although two thirds (66 percent) said that their dog’s diet was very important to them.
Research, clarity and advice
The majority of dog owners choose their dog food via recommendations. When questioned as to whether there was a lack of clarity when it came to nutritional information about dog food, 68 percent said yes there was a lack of clarity. 71 percent admitted to consulting their vet for advice on nutrition.
Cold-Pressed & Home-Cooking
Nearly half (48 percent) of people surveyed said the “beneficial effect to my dog’s health” was the most important factor when shopping for dog food (this was the most popular answer). Yet when asked whether they were aware of cold-pressed food, two thirds (66 percent) answered “no”. Over half said that they had attempted home cooking, but 20 percent said that they didn’t have the time to do it on a regular basis.
How often do you buy dog food?
51.8 percent of people surveyed said that they purchased their dog’s food on a weekly basis. 22.9 percent said that they did so fortnightly, with 19.1 percent doing so monthly. A further 4.6 percent said that they purchased dog food every 1 to 2 months, and 1.7 percent said that they went as long as two months.
How much on average, do you spend each time you buy dog food?
The average expenditure, per person, on dog food varied. The majority of people (55 percent) said that they spend somewhere in the region of between £11-£30. 30.4 percent said they spend under £10, while 11.6 percent said that their spend is anywhere between £31-£50. 3.1 percent said that they spend £50+.
How long have you been buying your dog food?
When asked as to how long they’ve been buying a certain brand of dog food, 23.9 percent said that they had been doing so for the past 6-12 months. 21.4 percent said that they had been doing so for the last 12 months to 2 years, with 22 percent saying that they’d been with the same brand for 2–5 years. 21.6 percent said that they had been buying the same dog food for 5 years and more, while 11.2 percent said they had only been purchasing a specific brand for a few weeks.
What type of dog food do you currently buy?
The most popular types of dog food were dry kibble (76.6 percent) and wet food (64.3 percent). 21.6 percent said that they fed their dog’s raw food (homecooked), while only 11.8 percent said that they were aware of, and fed their dog, cold pressed food.
Have you ever owned a dog(s) in the past, before the current one(s) that you have?
77.1 percent of people said that they had owned a dog previously, 22.9 percent had never had a dog prior to their current pet.
Do you feed the same food to your dog(s) now as you did previously?
There was an almost even split between people feeding their current dog the same food as their previous dog – 49.4 percent answered yes, while 50.6 percent said no.
Do you read any reviews or carry out research before buying dog food?
In regards to whether people read reviews or carried out any research before purchasing food for their dogs, the survey found that 50.3 percent did some research, while 49.7 percent did not.
How did you choose your current dog food?
When asked as to how they had chosen the food that they bought, 43.1 percent of dog owners said that they did so through recommendations. 30.5 percent that they made their choice after doing some research. 24.9 percent said that they had just stayed with their usual brand, 24.1 percent said their purchasing choice was based on identity and reputation of the brand, while 13.5 percent did so because they were impressed with a certain brands advertising. 11 percent said their decision was made for other reasons.
How often do you evaluate your dog’s food?
When questioned as to how dog owners evaluate their dog’s food, 51.8 percent said that they did so “now and again”. 24.9 percent said they did so “frequently”, while 16.5 percent said “rarely” and 6.9 percent said “never”.
How important do you consider diet to your dog’s health?
The survey also asked how important dog owners considered their dog’s diet to be, and how important it was to their pet’s overall health. 67.2 percent considered it to be “very important”, while 27.4 percent thought it was “fairly important”. 4.9 percent thought a dog’s diet was neither important nor unimportant in regards to their dog’s health.
Do you think there’s a lack of clarity when it comes to information about dog food?
Dog owners were also asked as to whether they thought that there was a lack of clarity when it came to information about dog food, 23.2 percent answered “yes, definitely”, while 45.2 percent said “yes, maybe”. 22.5 percent said “not really, 5.1 percent said “no” and 4.1 percent were unsure.
Where would you turn to for nutritional advice for your dog?
The vast majority of dog owners, 70.7 percent of those surveyed, said that when it comes to advice on nutrition, they would consult their vet – 41.2 percent said that they would turn to online sources, such as information websites. 24.5 percent said that they would check the packaging of the food, while 23.3 percent would check the manufacturer’s website. 3.4 percent would turn to “other” sources and 3.5 percent were unsure.
What do you consider to be most important when shopping for dog food?
The majority of dog owners (48.1 percent) said that the most important consideration for them, when purchasing their dog’s food, was food that would be beneficial to their pet’s health. 31.2 percent said that nutritional content was the most important thing, while 16.4 percent said that their decisions were made based on price. 2.4 percent thought convenience to be most important, while 2.1 percent answered “other”.
Do you know about Cold Pressed dog food?
Most people said that they were unaware of “cold-pressed” dog food – 41.3 percent claiming to have “never heard of it”, while 25.1 percent said “not really”, although they had heard of the process. 11.2 percent said that they “knew it well” and 22.5 percent said that they had a “basic understanding”.
Have you tried home-cooking for your dog(s)?
When it came to providing dogs with homecooked food, 20.7 percent said that they think it’s a great thing to do, while 21.6 percent agreed but said they’d only done it “once or twice”, as were without the time to do it on a regular basis. 12 percent answered “yes”, but were concerned about cost. 12.8 percent were unsure as to where to start when preparing homecooked food for their pets, while 23.4 percent hadn’t considered it and 9.7 percent did not know how to create the appropriate recipes.
Thank you for taking the time to review our findings, we hope you’ve found them as insightful as we have. Our core aim is to provide healthy foods for healthy dogs, but we also want to help our lovely pet parents wherever possible. Research such as this helps us to build a picture of what our customers want from their dog’s food. We’ll be using the information uncovered in our study to try and improve our offering as we continually assess our processes and methods in a bid to provide the best product we possibly can.