4 pet food trends I’ll be tracking at Global Pet Expo 2024

Does the show promise to showcase air-dried and freeze-dried products, more new cat foods and treats and still more CBD treats and supplements?

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As I write this, I’m preparing to fly to Orlando for Global Pet Expo. While I always look forward to the show, I’m particularly excited this year because it will be my first time participating in person since 2020, just before the world shut down from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lot has changed since then, but the pet food industry has remained quite dynamic, and I anticipate the booths and sessions at Global Pet Expo will showcase prime examples of the latest trends and developments. Here’s what I’ll be looking for.

  1. Will introductions of air-dried and freeze-dried pet foods and treats still be rising? I can recall seeing a handful of air-dried pet foods at Global even before 2020; according to my colleagues who’ve attended the past couple of years, including last year, those products keep growing in number, along with freeze-dried options. As more pet owners explore processing formats other than the traditional kibble and wet, will pet food and treat brands continue to offer more options?
  2. Will cats continue to feel the love from new product launches? Long treated as second-class citizens by pet food and treat companies, cats (and their owners) have garnered increased attention in the past several years as more brands ramp up their cat food and treat development efforts. This is likely due, at least partially, to the fact that cat populations continue to grow in many countries, including the U.S., while dog populations remain flat or are even declining slightly. I’m curious to see how plentiful new cat food and treat product launches are at Global.
  3. What’s the status of CBD treats and supplements? Four years ago, you couldn’t walk the aisles at a show like Global without seeing a new CBD treat or supplement every few feet—no matter CBD’s murky regulatory status and (at the time) relative lack of research on its efficacy or safety. Last year, my colleagues who attended Global reported that the CBD craze seemed to be abating; and that is also true on the human side, partly because of the regulatory status. Yet research on the safety of CBD for pets, at least in supplements, continues, with two new studies released just in the past month. It will be interesting to see if and how this balances out in terms of products for pets on display.
  4. How far can sustainability go in pet foods and pet products? The session lineup for Global includes several related to sustainability; and besides individual exhibitors touting sustainability related claims at their booths and on their products, there will also be an entire sustainability section of the show floor, anchored by the Pet Sustainability Coalition’s booth. I’m eager to see the number and type of companies participating, along with what kind of information they’ll be sharing about their sustainability initiatives.


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