19 January 2017 Pet Product News International
Julie Paez, co-ownerof The Big Bad Woof, whichhas
stores in Washington, D.C., and Maryland
Sustainable and humane food practices are an
area that we are really going to see growth in.
People are becoming aware that if an animal
being slaughtered is stressed, the adrenaline
going through the body can affect the meat.
Further, antibiotics and steroid use can translate to obesity in humans, along with a whole
range of issues. I think people are beginning
to make that connection.
Jusak Yang Bernhard, co-ownerof TailsSpin Pet Food
& Accessories, which has stores in Georgia
Competition is becoming fierce, whether it’s
food, treats or accessories, and with more manufacturers, there is much duplication in every
aspect of the pet industry. Online retailers will
continue to be big competition to both independent and big-box brick-and-mortar stores.
Raw food and infused freeze-dried foods with
kibble are being developed by some food manufacturers, and baked foods are making a comeback. Consumers are demanding that materials
used in products be humane and eco-friendly
and packages be designed with recycled, compostable materials. Humane ingredients, such
as grass-fed and cage-free protein sources, will
also show strong demand.
Holly Allen, co-ownerof
Dee-O-Gee in Bozeman, Mont.
The premiumization of
food is an ongoing trend.
One thing I see getting
bigger are toppers—freeze
dried, dehydrated, even
using raw as a topper—
while not necessarily solely feeding these foods.
Katie Pottenger, ownerof Parker’s Holistic Pet Market
I see food as really being the basis of specialty
business. Consumers can purchase pet supplies
almost everywhere, so we are going to have to
buckle down and sell what people really need as
opposed to the cute and the fluffy. It’s terrible for
margins, but customers are constantly being bombarded with Facebook ads and commercials; they
are shopping at Marshalls and T.J.Maxx for toys
and poo bags, the higher-margin items we built
our bread and butter on, so we really have to focus
on more of the nutritional aspect.
Samantha Cohen, vendorrelationsmanagerandcorporatebuyerfor Woof Gang Bakery, whichisheadquarteredin Orlando, Fla.
Trends in the pet industry tend to follow those of their human counterparts. Specifically, in the food category—as customers become more aware of ingredient sourcing in their own food, they will be looking for
the same consideration in their pet’s food. I think sustainable and organic recipes will be a huge segment of
the natural pet food market. In addition, customers are still searching for the easiest way to feed a raw diet,
resulting in continued growth of the freeze-dried category. Brands like Stella & Chewy’s and Nature’s Variety
are coming out with new freeze-dried products that incorporate other nutrients besides the meat bases. In
our stores, we are also seeing huge growth in home goods and wares for pet lovers.
Terry Brlecic, co-ownerof Pet Thingsin Douglasville, Ga.
I think we are going to see good growth in soft treats. Manufacturers have managed to make a softer treat
with just enough preservatives that they don’t go bad. Trend-wise, instead of cookies and body parts, I think
we are going to see a more fun type of treat coming into the store.
Cindra Conison, ownerof The Quirky Petin Montpelier, Vt.
For 2017, I see even more pressure from Internet shopping, as well as continued expansion
of chain stores. High-end kibble will be sold in
more grocery stores, and even hardware stores.
In reaction to this continued stressful competition, I think independent pet stores will evolve
and differentiate, with more attention paid to
being what the big box doesn’t and will never
offer: a customer-centric experience. Further,
more independents will look back in time for
inspiration and assume the role of the friendly pet shop of the fifties or sixties; a place you
want to bring your kids. In a world of charmless small, and large, box stores, a warm and
inviting pet shop that offers the feel of a “shop”
instead of a store will drive traffic, and an outwardly friendly staff will create sales and make
neighbors feel welcome.
Janene Zakrajsek, co-ownerof Pussy &
Pooch Pethouse and Pawbar, which has
stores in Southern California
In looking to 2017 we see more innovation with cat products, including
more functional furniture pieces. We
also see more development in functional treats, and new types of treat
categories focusing on higher-quality
ingredients. Additionally, we project
more awareness and acceptance toward cannabidiol (CBD) supplements.
For the near future, we would like to
see manufacturers level-up their products, offering more apparel following
human fashion trends, with an eye for
better fabrication, color and styling.