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Pet Industry Spending Hits All-Time High

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With over 985 exhibiting companies, nearly 6,000 buyers, 2,895 booths, representatives from 100 countries and 3,000 new products launched, the Global Pet Expo celebrated its 10th-year anniversary with a bang.

Prior to the show, Global Pet Expo had sold out its special exhibiting sections that included: Natural Pet, The Boutique, Everything Aquatic and What’s New!

Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, announced during the show that the overall spending in the pet industry for 2013 exceeded early estimates, coming in at an all-time high of more than $55.7 billion, a 4.5 percent growth from 2012.

“Both food and veterinary care are strongly influenced by consumers’ growing interest in improved health care for their pets,” Vetere said. “Health and wellness-related themes represent the most powerful trends across all segments of the industry, and will continue to do so again this year.”

According to this year’s annual comprehensive spending and data report, it estimates that overall spending for 2014 is expected to be $58.51 billion, a 4.9 percent growth over 2013.

The Global Pet Expo is put on by the American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association.

New Products

While some companies came out with one or two products, others introduced many more.

PetSafe came out with 14 new products that include the PetSafe Auto Trainer, winner of Becker’s Best; and the PetSafe Busy Buddy Build a Bone display, that won a new product showcase award.

“I’m extremely proud of everything we can offer pet owners through our new PetSafe products, and even more excited to share these products at this year’s Global Pet Expo,” Randy Boyd, founder and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, said. “With a special focus on innovation, owner convenience and design, our team has worked incredibly hard, from concept and research, to execution and trial, to make sure we deliver products that meet the needs of the pets and their owners.”

Out of the 3,000 new products that launched during Global, Merrick Pet Care had more than 60 of them.

“This show is definitely a highlight for us because we are launching 66 new items,” Pete Brace, vice president of communications for Merrick Pet Food, said. “We have been saying we have been working overtime in the super-premium category to really meet the pet-parent demand. They are really looking for things that meet their pet’s needs, whether it is grain-free, gluten-free, those key qualities that consumers are still gravitating toward.”

Anniversary Celebrations

While Global Pet Expo celebrated its 10th anniversary, Fromm Family Foods celebrated its 110th-year anniversary.

“The best thing about the celebration is the distributors and retailers here that celebrated with us; it makes it all worthwhile,” Tom Nieman, owner of Fromm Family Foods, said.

The company had a hospitality suite for two days that included breakfast and happy hours. On March 13, the company celebrated its 110th anniversary with two, 3-minute videos about the company.

“I have heard so many stories from them [the retailers and distributors] it makes them love our product more with getting to know us and getting to know our story,” Kathy Nieman, owner of Fromm Family Foods, said. “I think it’s been really important to them and I think it helps them to sell our product because they have a story to tell our customers.”

Bryan Nieman, brand director of Fromm Family Foods, said the company wanted to highlight its commitment to the industry and humanize the brand.

“We are not just some people on some CEO board,” he said. “We are real people they can talk to and see a history that goes back five generations. It’s something that no other company can really say.”

First Time at Global

Many companies attended the event for the first time, including Piddle Place, makers of a convenient and easy-to-use pet relief system.

“What a fantastic experience,” Kathleen Hillman, president of Piddle Place, said. “I loved the energy created by so many people working to better the lives of our furry friends. Pets enrich our lives and bring us comfort and friendship. I appreciated the opportunity from APPA to be part of this event. And, I appreciate the stores and distributors that stopped by our booth to hear our story, especially those  that saw the value and placed an order with us. We brought on 19 new distributors in different countries and won a Best in Show award from Dr. Marty Becker. Great weekend for Piddle Place.”

Caru Pet Foods features grain-free natural stews and Soft ‘n Tasty treats. It was also the company’s first time.

“The experience itself was great,” Adrian Pettyan, Caru Pet Foods co-owner and founder, said. “Being in the new product showcase really helped bring people to our booth; we had a ton of people tell us that they had seen our display in the new product showcase and as a result were stopping by. I even had one lady who took our pamphlet home and read all about us so that when she came to our booth the next day, she was recounting to me our story and what we were all about. “

Some companies, like iLeesh Products LLC, which specializes in the design and manufacturing of breed-specific pet products and gift accessories, weren’t sure what to expect during the trade show.

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