Many of its brands — and commercials — may be iconic, from Meow Mix to Alpo, but the fact is that the pet food industry is a relatively new business. For millennia, cats and dogs were simply fed unwanted table scraps. Go to a timeless fish market like the Besiktas in Istanbul, and the chances are high that visitors will see a fishmonger feeding a feline the day’s scraps. Wander through the timeless Central Market in Athens and observers will watch the same thing, only with tidbits of beef and lamb.Fast forward to the post-World War II era, however, and it was then that many food companies saw the benefits of marketing formulated pet foods to dog and cat owners. Growing affluence and the demand for convenience together inspired companies including General Foods, Nabisco and Purina (now owned by Nestlé) to enter the pet food sector. The profit margins were huge, as food waste that previously would have been discarded was recycled into what quickly became a lucrative new business.