33SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Heather Anderson Heather Anderson covers consumer financial news for CUInsight.com, offering readers tips on budgeting, setting and achieving financial goals, and developing a healthy relationship with money. She is co-founder of … Web: www.financialfeed.com Details We all love our fur babies, and want them to be healthy. That’s probably why petfoodindustry.com reported the U.S. pet food market is projected to reach $27 billion in 2018, marking a 4.4% increase over last year.The site credited online and premium food sales for the increase, driven by the humanization of pets, a bond that defines the contemporary relationship people have with companion animals. Pet owners think of their pets as members of the family, and want them to eat the same “clean” foods that they do.Some premium pet foods are so expensive, pet owners might pay as much for their pet’s food as they do their own. Is it worth it?Surprisingly, the answer may not be found in the label.According to a blog post on the topic from Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, the term “premium” is merely a marketing term that means manufacturers have created a product that provides “tangible or imaginary surplus value” at a higher price than typical products. That means the premium pet food you’re feeding your cat or dog might be better than average . . . or, just perceived to be that way. There are no standards required for pet food manufacturers to advertise their product in a way that will justify a higher price.Some foods may promote current trends, such as no grains, byproducts or GMO ingredients, but that doesn’t mean they have superior quality control standards or even attention to nutritional value. The manufacturer may just be using these ingredients to justify the higher cost, and the food might not even be better for your food, the blog said.The conclusion? Just because your veterinarian recommends a food (especially if he or she sells it – which probably means a mark up) or the pet food is marketed as premium, that doesn’t mean it’s worth the extra cost or healthier for your pet. Instead, first decide what your realistic budget is for pet food. Then, research the best food available that fits your budget. Instead of focusing on current food trends, pay attention to the manufacturer’s recall history, quality control ratings and overall track record. This strategy will ensure your pet food purchase is a good value, rather than something with a snazzy package.