Global Pet Expo Reveals New Trends in Pet Toys and Consumable Products
Tornado warnings, torrential rain and flight delays did not deter pet industry professionals from attending Global Pet Expo, which was held in Orlando, Fla., March 21-23.
In fact, the show grew yet again this year, according to Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), which organizes the show along with the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). Darmohraj reported that the show experienced approximately a 2 percent increase in booths and a 3 percent increase in exhibitors.
Show attendance was also strong, according to several exhibitors.
“Healthy attendance by pet specialty retailers, big and small, made the show a success,” said John Hart, president of Isle of Dogs in Germantown, Wis. “Traffic was very robust with engaged buyers from both current as well as prospective accounts.”
Colleen McCracken, CEO of Planet Dog in Westbrook, Maine, agreed, noting that the show seemed very well attended.
“Overall, walking around I got a great sense of positivity and excitement,” she said. “We were very excited to have so many customers visit our booth. There were a lot of great new products being launched at the show, and vendors were excited to talk about them with retailers.”
Planet Dog introduced four dog toys at the show: the Guru, a treat-dispensing interactive toy; the Strobe, a light-up interactive toy; the Lil’ Dipper, a chew toy for small dogs; and the Single-Color Orbee Ball.
“In talking with retailers, it is clear the interactive category continues to present significant opportunities to engage pets both physically and mentally,” McCracken said. “Additionally, the made in the USA trend is not going away anytime soon.”
Kerissa Kelly-Slatten, marketing and promotions manager at Cardinal Pet Care in Azuza, Calif., said two trends stood out at this year’s Global Pet Expo: the growth of the calming category and the continued success of organic products.
“To cater to distributors and retailers looking to expand their calming section, Cardinal Pet Care rolled out its Remedy+Recovery Lavender Mist and E-Collar Kit—a first-of-its-kind product that makes it easy to turn any E-collar into a calming collar,” she said, adding that the kit consists of a 4-ounce bottle of Calming Lavender Mist and a set of four replaceable disks, which work with any recovery or E-collar.
The company also showcased its Crazy Dog Organic Train-Me! Treats, which are made with organic beef and organic chicken, are animal welfare certified by Oregon Tilth, and come in 3-calorie and 1.7-calorie sizes.
Hart noted strong interest in the New Products Showcase and the innovative new edible selections that were launched at the show, adding that consumable products were the highlight at Isle of Dogs’ booth.
“We focused the majority of our strategy on our Isle of Dogs Nourish air-dried pet food,” he said. “It was originally soft-launched in September of 2017, so this was the first opportunity for many retailers to see the food and treat products in the line.”
The company also previewed its line of Everyday Essentials functional treats, which will be launched later this year in four formulas with nutrient-rich ingredients like fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs.
The Hagen Group in Mansfield, Mass., highlighted new products in several categories at this year’s show.
“The aquatics team launched the Fluval 3.0 Bluetooth enabled LED lights, our dog team came through with two great lines of consumables and our Exo Terra team launched the Tiki Kits,” said Damian Hall, marketing communications manager at the company.
In addition to showcasing new products, Hall said Global Pet Expo is the perfect setting for building relationships with retail partners.
“Shows give us the opportunity to meet and connect with our retail partners and get a better understanding of what they need from us,” he said. “We can take the time to educate our retail partners about new products.”
While the show offers exhibitors the opportunity to engage with retail buyers, Hall said the enormity of the show seemed somewhat daunting for attendees.
“Speaking about the show itself, attendees really need to manage their time at the shows to maximize the limited time available to meet with a variety of vendor partners, plus to see all the new and unique products launching over the three days,” he said.
Hart agreed that the show’s size might make it hard for attendees.
“The show is very time consuming to walk through completely, so we did hear the comment that it is overwhelming to ‘see everything,’” he said. “However, the show continues to be a ‘must’ in terms of attending as an exhibitor and wholesale or retail participant.”