Global Pet Expo 2018 trends: small dogs, new packaging

Among the pet food industry trends seen at this year’s Global Pet Expo were those focusing on small and toy dog breeds, and packaging redesigns

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Javier Brosch.Fotolia
Javier Brosch.Fotolia

Global Pet Expo 2018, held on March 21–23 in Orlando, Florida, USA, was filled top to bottom with all the latest pet trends. With 1,130 exhibitors and 16,646 attendees, there was plenty to observe in all categories of pet, including pet food.

Small dogs: An urban trend gaining ground

There were several pet food formulas catering to small or toy breed dogs in the New Products Showcase, speaking to the growing trend of people in urban settings owning smaller pets that are more easily handled in compact spaces. Millennials, in particular, are driving this trend, living lifestyles that delay family life and the once-dreamed-of “white picket fence” and sticking to bustling cityscapes in apartments or condos. Said apartments or condos do not necessarily lend themselves to owning large dogs, but millennials want pets anyway — hence the rise in small dog ownership.

Rachael Ray’s Nutrish line, by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, has debuted its superpremium food for small dogs called Little Bites. Solid Gold’s Mighty Mini line has been expanded, adding lamb formulas to its dry and wet food offerings for small dogs. WellPet now has a line of “petite entrees” specifically for small breed dogs, as well as three formulas in its CORE dry food offerings (including one for small breed weight control).

New packaging: Marketing to customer needs

As pet food store shelves (specialty and otherwise) become more and more crowded, having stand-out packaging is more of a necessity than an option. As such, every year there are full redesigns, tweaks for new products, and new ways of packaging foods and treats, and this year at Global was no different.

Jones Naturals, known for its bright pink and yellow packaging and its cartoon dog, has gone in a different direction with its new premium treat line (Jones Select), aiming for sophisticated, scaled-down packaging with the dog making his appearance on the back in subtle grayscale. Petcurean has swapped out cans for Tetra Pak cartons in introducing its new pâtés and stews with bone broth, aiming to both reduce needed transportation and shelf space and make use of a more environmentally friendly packaging option. Sojos has unveiled a whole new packaging design, giving its products a whimsical, friendly feel via polka dots.

Briefly: Other top pet food trends at Global Pet Expo

  • Limited ingredient diets
  • Cranberries as an ingredient included for urinary tract health
  • Beef as a primary protein
  • Single-ingredient dog treats (e.g., meat sticks)
  • A focus on the millennial pet owner

Look for in-depth analysis of these trends in upcoming issues of Petfood Industry magazine.

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