The Glee Petindex show held in the UK during September offered visitors the chance to see numerous new products and a multitude of appealing packages. Here are just a few examples.
Although there are now fewer than 4,000 small independent pet shops left in the UK, and the number is falling by 10% per year, these retailers remain of considerable interest to petfood makers. The country's largest manufacturer of private-label extruded foods was at Glee to unveil its new venture for gaining a slice of this market. Just because a retailer is relatively small, it argued, there is still a way for the store to have its own petfood brand.
So kibble-maker Golden Acres has a new product range named Platinum, but it does not propose to see the name on any food bought by the pet owner. Instead, the bags of petfood are intended for re-branding by the pet shop when they arrive. This is a simple matter of affixing labels, the company comments, with none of the start-up costs usually attached to a retailer's own-brand exercise. It even will supply pre-printed labels for the shop to put on the see-through bags.
Milk seeks a canine market
Anecdotal evidence in Europe indicates that many dog owners remain unaware of the inability of most dogs to tolerate cow's milk. They persist in giving either fresh milk or dairy products to their pets, in the belief that these are beneficial to the animal's health.
Most European observers attribute this to the syndrome of regarding the dog as a surrogate member of the family. Owners do not discriminate between food for their pet and food for themselves, so they feed it in a way that mimics their own meals.
The British exhibition two years ago saw the promotion of a German goat's milk yogurt made especially for dogs. This year, the show presented a product described as the first commercial dog milk in the UK. Top Life Formula also is made from goat's milk, but the product literature revealed that it also contains green tea extract, chondroitin and glucosamine. Offer it as a daily treat or mix it with dry food, said UK manufacturer Feldy Ltd.
In praise of big flakes
My Pet Foods, the largest rabbit food maker in the UK, presented an alternative to micronizing. Sales/marketing manager Nigel Bateson called the processing method the big difference in its product offering under the Mr. Johnson's brand. Rather than being micronized, the materials are processed by steam flaking.
"It produces big flakes," he commented. "They are three times the size of a comparable product from micronizing. We say steam flaking enhances the palatability and maintains the level of vitamins and minerals. But it is also very attractive to the owner of the rabbit because of the size of the flakes.
"After launching two rabbit products in March of this year, our next step has been to enter new distribution channels by also reaching out to the garden centers in Britain, as well as to wholesalers and specialist pet shops. With more garden centers in this country now stocking petfoods for the first time, we are offering them a starter pack of four 1.5kg bags from our Jasper Rabbit range, three bags of Gloria Guinea-Pig Mix and two of Amos Hamster food. The garden center will have these packed together in a display box with the appropriate merchandising, all ready to start."
By Lindsay Beaton
This country is straddling the line between developing and developed as more of its citizens see the value in pet ownership.
By Lindsay Beaton