Zoomark International 2019 organized by BolognaFiere with the support of ASSALCO (National Association of Producers of Pet Food and Pet Care Products) and ANMVI (National Association of Italian Veterinary Doctors) concluded its 18th edition registering a considerable increase in attendance and exhibitors numbers, which totaled 757 including foreign exhibitors from 45 different countries. The presence of six national collectives highlighted the growing internationalization of the event. New features this year were the collaborations with different associations and with coordinators of foreign collectives, the organization of Focus sessions for in-depth examination of different markets and business opportunities relating to the USA, Canada, Russia, UK, China, India and the Czech Republic.
“The Pet market is one that has evolved over the years,” explained Antonio Bruzzone, General Manager of BolognaFiere, “The growing attention for care and wellbeing of our pets finds a detailed and thorough response in the offer from businesses that exhibited at Zoomark International this year, a very wide spectrum of the very best the international pet industry has to offer. Among the particular strengths of this edition were the 20 plus conventions, workshops and meetings for the various categories and operators who were able to benefit from professional training and enjoy an overview of the main innovations, market research and strategies for success in imports/exports. There was an excellent response from exhibitors and visitors to the calendar change, which now focuses the event in the first four days of the working week rather than taking place over a weekend, a decision that contributed further to the increase in numbers and quality profile of foreign visitors to the event. Zoomark underlined its credentials as the leading event in Europe: a huge exhibition platform that once more this year attracted a considerable number of buyers, over 40% of whom came from abroad, a proportion 23% higher than the previous edition in 2017.
“We are satisfied with the progress of products for pet care, a compartment that continues to show that it is one of the most dynamic in Italy,” commented Gianmarco Ferrari, President of ASSALCO, “The positive trend recorded for the pet food sector for cats and dogs is in step with the growing care and attention that Italians are showing towards for their pets. Industrial foods are now recognized as the most practical and convenient solution to nourish our pets safely and with a complete and balanced diet.”
A key moment was the presentation on the opening day of the 2019 ASSALCO-Zoomark Report that provided important data about the market. The report outlined that in 2018 the market for cat and dog food products reached a business volume of 2,082 million euros, an increase of +1.5% compared with the previous year and a rate of growth far superior for packaged mass consumption goods (+0.01% in 2018).
Furthermore, the ASSALCO-Zoomark Report presented the Doxa study of the perceptions of the Italian population in relation to pets, their presence and role in families and society, with an in-depth examination of aspects concerning owners’ relationships with their pets.
“We consider the 2019 edition of Zoomark International an extremely high-level event both in terms of the exhibition offer and the professional qualifications of the operators attending,” commented Antonio Manfredi, Director of ANMVI. “There were also numerous initiatives taking place, including, for our sector, the Convention dedicated to electronic veterinary prescriptions that attracted a substantial audience of professionals keen to stay up-to-date.”
Zoomark International placed great emphasis on the new and innovative products presented by exhibitors, with 400 of these on display for a numerous and enthusiastic public. Around 40% of the products concern pet food, a sector in which innovation is a key factor. New formulas are ever more finely calibrated to meet animals’ nutritional requirements with ingredients selected for their organoleptic characteristics, high quality and to cater to animals’ specific needs (for example free from allergens, vegan, grain free, with particular functions or for nutritional purposes to treat specific pathologies).
Design is becoming increasingly sophisticated, shapes and materials ever more refined and of greater quality. The technology applied to the development of products is being put to the service of animals and their owners in order to offer the utmost in comfort, for example with pet beds made in highly insulating and comfortable materials, orthopaedic beds and cushions made of memory foam, moments for recreation (interactive toys), protection and security with collars equipped with GPS and/or electronic recognition name tags, and high visibility systems for use in the dark.
In the animal care section (hygiene and medical products) the focus was on delicate formulas and homeopathic and Ayurvedic approaches, while the first products made from CBD were also presented.
In the pet litter sector there were new, vegetable-based solutions made from new sources that respect the environment.
In general, there was growing interest in organic products and raw materials, sustainable production cycles and recyclable packaging.
A special Initiative at Zoomark was the Aqua Project, created to showcase the aquarium industry and directly involve companies from the sector. A large central area was set up with tanks of exceptional size, a pond and the exhibitors’ own aquariums, in order to recreate diverse habitats and ecosystems and present the latest technological innovations. The aim was to “think outside of the box” and showcase the great versatility of aquariums equipped with modern technology in order to create versions that are unusual and surprising in their simplicity. This area was particularly popular with architects and professionals interested in incorporating water features into their projects.