Mergers and acquisitions within the $28 billion pet food market have become common in recent years, but the companies doing the buying are not those known to the category with more companies known for producing human food entering the pet food market.

"The mature yet thriving outlook for the pet food industry makes a foray into the market a worthwhile venture for just about any food company, especially considering the continued emergence of premium priced and natural and organic pet products that are helping drive sales in many pet retail categories," says David Sprinkle, research director for market research publisher Packaged Facts.

According to Packaged Facts recent report “Pet Food in the US, 11th Edition,” sales in the pet food category are projected to grow at rates between 3 percent and 4.5 percent throughout 2015-2018. In the US, at these rates retail sales of pet food will rise by 16 percent to $33 billion, reflecting a CAGR of 3 percent, researchers said.

Food companies have made headlines recently for acquiring pet food brands. In February, J.M. Smucker’s bought Big Heart Pet Brands (Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Kibbles ’n Bits) for $5.8 billion and Mars bought Iams and Eukanuba from Procter & Gamble in a $2.9 billion acquisition.

 More on the report can be found here