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Petco bans pet food with artificial ingredients

Petco bans pet food with artificial ingredients

Petco announced Tuesday that it will no longer sell pet food with artificial ingredients.

"Today we're making a commitment to not sell dog and cat food and treats with artificial colors, flavors or preservatives -- making us the first and only retailer of pet food to take a stand against such ingredients," CEO Ron Coughlin wrote in a letter on the company's website.

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Starting in January, the retailer will begin removing products that fail to meet its new standards. The company plans to remove all products with artificial ingredients by May, according to Coughlin.

The majority of Petco's products don't contain artificial ingredients, Coughlin told The Associated Press in an article published Tuesday. He said if there's any unsold food by May it will be donated to animal shelters.

Natural pet products are a small subset of the U.S. pet-related market, but one that is growing rapidly, the AP reported, citing data from Nielsen that found the market share doubled to 6.5 percent between 2013 and 2017.

Sales of pet food without genetically modified ingredients jumped 29 percent last year alone, while sales of pet food absent artificial preservatives and colors rose 4 percent.

U.S. consumer spending on pet products is also climbing, with an increase of 4 percent to a total of $69.5 billion last year, AP reported, citing the American Pet Products Association.