WPA Names New Product Award Winners at SuperZoo
WPA president Jacinthe Moreau and Chris Clevers of Hikari Sales USA, winner of the New Food Product Award
The World Pet Association (WPA), the trade organization behind SuperZoo, announced this year’s New Product Showcase Award winners at a ceremony held at the showcase stage yesterday afternoon. Products boasted new tech innovations, eye-catching packaging and displays that shine above the rest.
The judges chose one winner in each of seven categories: Innovative (never-before-seen solutions); Lifestyle (products designed to improve pets’ health and well-being); Shelf Appeal (packaging that stands out and clearly conveys the product’s benefits); Point of Purchase (in-store displays that grab shoppers’ attention); Technology (new products with modern, high-tech features); Humanized Pet Products (pet products that also benefit humans); and New Food Product (original, new-to-market food and treats).
The winners are:
Varram USA Pet Fitness Robot for Innovative and for Technology
Van Ness Pet Products Calm Carrier for Lifestyle and for Humanized Pet Products
TreatWorx Dog Treats for Shelf Appeal
Vital Essentials VE Raw Bar for Point of Purchase
Hikari Sales USA Herptile for Geckos and Bearded Dragons for New Food Product
This year, WPA debuted a new voting process for SuperZoo’s New Product Showcase Awards. WPA also revamped the award categories, which aim to “shine the light on categories growing in importance to retailers and their customers,” said officials for the organization.
A jury of judges comprised of pet industry investors, previous pet retail executives, a veterinarian and other influencers selected this year’s New Product Showcase Awards. In years past, SuperZoo’s retail attendees chose the winners.
The panel of judges included: Jim Dougherty, founder of PetSmart and founder/chairman of Petsense; veterinarian and author Ruth MacPete; Jennifer Boncy, publishing director and editor-in-chief of Pet Product News; Mike Duda, managing partner at Bullish, an accelerator agency in Bethlehem, Pa.; Rich Thompson, managing director of Factory, a New York-based investment firm; Laura “Peach” Reid, president and CEO of Fish Mart; and Hannah Zulueta, a pet industry influencer and owner of canine lifestyle blog Maggie Loves Orbit.
The jury was created to establish more objectivity in the voting process, said Courtney Harold, vice president of sales and marketing for WPA.
“We wanted to have a lot of credibility and have [the New Product Showcase Awards] be something that people really want to promote all the way through to retail,” Harold said.
The updated category classifications were created to “help highlight all of our exhibitors in all of our segments,” Harold noted.
In the past, the awards were divided by specific pet categories—bird, aquatics, cat, dog, equine, small animal, grooming, miscellaneous and reptile—with first, second and third place winners. This year, judges voted on the best overall product within the seven categories.
WPA added another new feature to the awards in an effort to give New Product Showcase Award winners the opportunity to promote their win at retail. This year, each winning company will receive an email with digital artwork that can be used to promote its products after the show.
“We want the awards to mean something more for the brand beyond SuperZoo, so it’s beneficial to exhibitors, retailers and to the consumer,” Harold said. “The ultimate goal is driving traffic to the store.”