As SPINS' Marketing Data Analyst and Trade Show Insider, Scott covers the latest trends and insights within the Pet Industry.
After a year away, SuperZoo returned to Las Vegas to once again bring together the pet industry’s most innovative brands and trend-setting retailers—not to mention plenty of stylish pets. It was great to be back in person with thousands of pet brands eager to show us the endless variety of products on the market and the exciting items on the horizon.
Although everyone remained masked up as they walked the massive expo floor, the show was a good reminder that the pet industry is moving forward. As you’ll see in the list below, retailers, manufacturers, brokers, distributors, and consumers are looking ahead. Each product is an improvement, whether in terms of diet, convenience, well-being or simply for the sake of variety.
Here are the 13 trends that caught our eye at SuperZoo:
1. Low Sodium Options
Many pets are going on low sodium diets these days due to a variety of health ailments that can be exacerbated by retaining water. Since sodium is not an ingredient that needs to be labeled for on pet food, we are seeing more brands use marketing language and label claims to highlight low sodium in their products.
2. Single-ingredient protein treats
Single-ingredient pet treats were on full display. Just as in human food, consumers are conscious of the ingredients they feed their pets. Limiting ingredients is a terrific way to increase consumer confidence in your product. My cat has been enjoying the salmon treats from Omega Plus.
3. Human grade options
The days of pet food being below human food may very well be over. Now, I don’t know if we will see humans eating the variety of animal parts anytime soon (trachea anyone?), but pet food and treats are increasingly emphasizing human grade ingredients. Only the best for our furry friends!
4. CBD is back!
Seeing CBD growing in the Neighborhood Pet Channel again was a strong sign of hope for the many CBD pet products we found on the show floor. With shoppers heading back to neighborhood pet stores as they learn to live in a world with COVID, CBD still is a top choice for anxiety and stress relief for pets.
5. Catnip blends
Catnip is a great treat for cats all on its own. We are seeing targeted blends including other functional ingredients as well. Some examples are valerian root for calming and silvervine for oral health.
6. Trendy people flavors for Instagram pet parents
Birthday cake and latte flavors were among the popular flavors that we saw at the show. I’m not sure how much our dogs care about these trendy flavors, but I think the appeal to the Instagram pet parent is strong enough to drive up demand for these unique flavors. Bonus shout out to the pumpkin spice holiday flavors that we see in pet now.
7. Nothing goes to waste
From tracheas to spleens, manufacturers are not wasting any parts when producing treats and snacks. Not only do pets enjoy these otherwise unused parts, but also shoppers can feel better knowing the entire animal is being used and reducing waste.
8. Earth-friendly packaging and bags
Packaging is notoriously one of the biggest offenders to the environment these days, and discerning pet owners can now choose wipes and bags (and their packaging) that are biodegradable and compostable. Now each walk doesn’t have to leave a negative environmental footprint.
9. High protein
Diets high in protein aren’t just for the pet parents anymore. Our furry omnivores not only enjoy protein, but as with human diets, a little protein can go a long way in keeping them satiated without overeating. The single-ingredient treats and foods we mentioned before illustrate the protein-first approach manufacturers are beginning to take.
10. Natural body care
The natural shopper is as concerned about their pets as they are about themselves in all aspects of their lives. In addition to the natural food products that have been on the market for years, we saw natural, better-for-your-pets body care items like wipes, shampoos, and even dental items.
11. Seamless omnichannel presence
From the education sessions to the conversations we had on the expo floor, digital was always discussed alongside brick-and-mortar. We met growing brands with successful eCommerce strategies that were eager to get on store shelves, and we talked to retailers looking to make their online and digital experiences seamless. After the last year, it’s safe to say everyone understands that creating a convenient shopping experience is all that matters.
12. Mission-driven brands
The mission-based shopper (and retailer) is more common than not in today’s world, and that extends to the pet aisles. We saw manufacturers tout the humane way they treated their animals, promote the transparency of their farming and agricultural practices, and talk about their own corporate responsibility.
13. Fun forms
Much like trendy flavors that are probably more for the amusement of pet parents than anyone else, we saw plenty of new product forms that are straight out of the human grocery aisle: slushies, jerky, and energy bars. Whether or not our four-legged friends care how they get their treats remains to be seen, but they deserve a little variety like the rest of us.