The UK’s pet sector has benefitted from consistent growth in recent years and is forecasted to continue to do so. Growth actually increased throughout Covid-19, due to a rise in pet ownership; the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) confirmed 3.2 million UK households acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, resulting in a total of 17 million pet owning homes throughout the country.

The increase in pet ownership has likewise increased the demand for pet products, including food, toys, medication and treats. Many UK companies operating in the sector have seen increased sales and growth, enabling them to dedicate more resource towards improving their products and processes through research and development. The sector’s growth has increased competition, making it important now more than ever to differentiate through innovation.

Like in many sectors, a surprising number of companies operating in the pet industry are conducting eligible R&D activity yet do not benefit from the incentive. This is partly due to unawareness of the incentive, but misconceptions regarding qualifying R&D activity are also to blame.

Some examples of R&D in the pet sector include;

  • Developing nutritious food/treats, especially “free-from” options
  • Developing toys, beds or accessories that achieve specific technical properties without compromising comfort (i.e. antibacterial)
  • Improving manufacturing processes by reducing waste, minimizing costs or increasing efficiency
  • Investing in sustainability; developing products or packaging using recycled or eco-friendly materials
  • Developing, modifying or integrating software to improve operations

If you operate in the pet sector and are unsure whether you’d be eligible for an R&D tax credit application get in touch! We are always happy to have an exploratory conversation to see if we can help.