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Bone appétit: Ben & Jerry's is now making dog treats

Ben & Jerry's is already irresi...

Posted: Jan 11, 2021 7:41 AM

Ben & Jerry's is already irresistible to most humans — and now, they're looking to hook man's best friend with a new line of dog treats.

For the first time in the brand's history, Ben & Jerry's is now selling non-dairy frozen treats called "Doggie Desserts" in supermarkets and pet stores. The ice cream-like concoctions are available in two flavors named after employees' dogs: "Pontch's Mix," which features peanut butter with pretzel swirls and "Rosie's Batch," a combination of pumpkin and mini cookies.

The treats are made with dog-friendly ingredients including a sunflower-butter base and other "high quality ingredients" that are found in Ben & Jerry's traditional ice cream, including sugar, coconut oil and wheat flour. They cost $2.99 for a 4-ounce cup or $4.99 for a pack of four.

Ben & Jerry's, which is owned by Unilever, is chomping into a growing space sparked by an increase in pet adoptions during the pandemic as people stuck at home seek companionship. Sales of dog treats specifically jumped 8% last year to $4.6 billion, according to data Nielsen provided to CNN Business.

And that's part of a wider trend: Sales of pet supplies, toys, beds and grooming products leaped by double-digit percentages from late March through early July, compared to the same period a year earlier, according to research from market research firms SPINS and IRI.

Pet adoption isn't slowing down, either. UBS estimates that about 92 million households in United States will have at least one pet by the end of 2023, up from 85 million in 2018. And 90% of dog owners consider dogs to be part of their family, the firm said.

Against that backdrop, the pet industry has proved to be recession-resilient, if not recession-proof. Consumer spending on pet essentials climbed during the Great Recession, even as overall spending declined.

"Pets don't eat less during recessions," Chewy founder Ryan Cohen previously told CNN Business. "The last thing people typically pull back on is their pet."

--CNN Business' Alicia Wallace and Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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