Adventures in Pet Food

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry, shares her insights and opinions on all things pet food, addressing market trends as well as news and developments in pet nutrition, food safety and other hot topics for the industry.

SuperZoo sets record, organizer says

In another sign of the seemingly ever-resilient pet industry, last week's SuperZoo pet trade show in Las, Vegas, Nevada, USA, drew a record number of participants, according to the World Pet Association, the show's organizer. Those numbers included a 12% increase in attendees over 2011, 53 countries represented, 871 exhibiting companies and 160,000 square feet of (sold-out) exhibit space.


What's more, that healthy data comes on top of a 15% increase in attendance last year over 2010. The exhibit space and number of exhibitors have continued to grow, too -- from 690 companies and 120,000 square feet in 2010 to 795 companies and 137,000 square feet in 2011 to this year's figures.


This is good news indeed, especially after the announcement from H.H. Backer a few weeks ago that it would not hold its Pet Industry Spring Trade Show next year but is instead postponing it to 2014 and switching to a biennial frequency from that point. The company cited general market factors and lack of support from distributors and manufacturers.


Those problems could be unique to that show, or one could argue that some people consider Las Vegas a much more attractive place to visit than Atlantic City (neither appeals to me.) Yet even Interzoo was flat or a little down in visitor numbers this year, and that's long been considered the "must" show for much of the global pet industry. Plus, Germany and neighboring countries have a lot to offer in the way of tourism and activities.


Perhaps the Western world is becoming saturated with pet trade shows, or the still sluggish economy in many parts of that world are causing people to choose among the trade shows. Because in Asia, where pet trade shows are still newer, they are still growing. Even in Japan, considered more of a mature, slow-growth pet market, the Interpets show saw a 20% increase in visitors this year over 2011, its inaugural year.


And Pet Fair Asia, coming up in October (11-14) in Shanghai, is reporting strong growth in this, its 15th year. It sold out all booth space in July and is expecting more than 12,000 visitors. Of course, pet ownership in China is booming -- one-sixth of Chinese families now own pets, according to the show's organizers -- pushing the growth in demand for pet products to 25% a year.


I'm excited to say I'll be at Pet Fair Asia, hosting Petfood Forum China on October 12, participating in the International Pet Industry Summit and visiting some Chinese pet stores and shops. Stay tuned for a report in a few weeks. 

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