The Hottest Trends at SuperZoo 2019
As one of the industry's most important trade shows, SuperZoo is always a great place to get an up-close look at the product trends that are shaping the future of the pet care market, and this year was no different. The show, which was held Aug. 20-22 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, featured a variety of notable trends that speak directly to consumers' desire to provide the best possible care to their pets, as well as pet specialty retailers' need to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Here are just a few examples:
1. The Renaissance of With-Grain Foods
With news outlets still buzzing about the FDA's warnings about a possible connection between grain-free foods and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)—a connection that has still yet to be proven—a number of pet food companies have either begun extolling the virtues of their existing with-grain diets or introduced new ones. However, instead of regressing back to formulas pumped up with cheap grains as fillers, this new wave of food features premium whole grains and a conspicuous lack of legumes, which have been the target of speculation in the ongoing conversation about DCM.
2. Tight Control Over Sourcing & Manufacturing
Concerns about products made in or using ingredients from China has put the spotlight on pet product companies that maintain strict control over their ingredient sourcing and manufacturing. Of course, the Made in the USA movement factors in heavily here, but the trend extends beyond domestic sourcing and production to include companies that demonstrate their products are made or sourced responsibly overseas.
3. Sensible Channel Strategies
Understanding that pet specialty retailers are looking for products that will differentiate them from mass, grocery and online outlets, a growing number of pet product manufacturers are coming up with sensible channel strategies that focus on offering exclusive brands or sub-brands for pet stores. Whether it involves major differences in product formulation and design, or simply changes in branding and packaging, this approach is gaining momentum as specialty retailers gravitate toward vendors who provide them with an opportunity to stand out in a tough competitive climate.