Pet Product News
Vol. 72 No. 5 Pet Product News International May 2018
Editor in Chief Jennifer Boncy
Managing Editor Lindsey Wojcik
Senior Editor Carrie Brenner
Contributing Editors Barry Berman, Lizett Bond,
Sandy Chebat, Hilary Daninhirsch, Lindsey Getz,
B.C. Henschen, Keith Loria, Ethan Mizer, Audrey Pavia
Art Director Sandra Schmeil
Four Your Paws Only
“Jungle” Bob Smith
Jungle Bob’s Reptile World
The Yuppy Puppy
Kriser’s Natural Pet
Marni and Paul Lewis
The Green K9
Kim McCohan and
Bend Pet Express
Pawz On Main
Retailer of the Year Mark and Deborah Vitt, Mutts & Co.
RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD 2017-2018
Chairman & CEO Peter Callahan
President & COO Carolyn Callahan
Senior V.P. Administration/ Treasurer Anna Blanco
Senior V. P. Finance and CFO Gerard J. Cerza, Jr.
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NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
As an editor, a huge part of my job is reading. I spend hours each month reading news briefs, product descriptions, full-length articles and the Q&As that Pet Product News con-
ducts with various industry folks. And while cumulatively, the edito-
rial content of Pet Product News offers me plenty of textual variety,
the buzzword I come across more than any other, no matter what
product category or topic I’m reading about, is “humanization.”
Clearly, humanization is widely considered to be among the
most powerful factors that drives sales and product innovation
across just about every category there is in the pet industry.
The concept seems simple enough to understand: What’s good
and important for me as a human being is equally as good and
important for my pet. However, I recently listened to a presentation
that highlighted more specifically how humanization has manifested
itself in the dog food space in particular and, more important, how it
might play out in the very near future.
At a media-only presentation held at Global Pet Expo in Orlando,
Fla., in March, Eric Huston, marketing director for Mars Petcare U.S.,
referred to humanization as the “mega trend that continues to drive
the category.” It is a point that few in the industry would dispute.
He noted several examples of the process by which a trend
in the human food world trickles down to pet food, usually with a
modification that redefines it for pet needs, tastes and demands.
For example, when run through a “dog filter,” humans’ gluten-free
trend translated into pets’ grain free, and the paleo human diet
has manifested as an ancestral diet for dogs, Huston reported.
However, he added, anticipating which trends are good candidates
for migration from the human realm to pet in the future, and figuring
out exactly how these trends can be tweaked to suit pets, is critical
for companies that want to stay ahead of the competition.
So, looking ahead, Mars Petcare is seeking to keep its portfolio
relevant by being on the forefront of those human-to-pet product
migrations and working out how human
preferences can be reinterpreted and
translated for the pet market. Two human trends the
company has run through its dog filter are the growing demand for
foods and ingredients that are non-GMO and foodie culture. The
former stems from people increasingly wanting to know that the
ingredients in their foods and the produce on their dinner plates
have not been subjected to any genetic modifications. Mars’ Nutro
brand, with its focus on “clean” eating, fits that bill, Huston said.
The latter—foodie culture—is all about quality, delicious,
indulgent food that is also in line with people’s idea of healthful,
nutritious dining. Huston projects that this human focus will
translate into what he referred to as the “culinary space” for pets,
where there is “no tradeoff between enjoyment and health.” Mars
will relaunch its Ultra brand this summer to meet that particular
Also breaking in the market, he added, is a continued focus
on high-protein meals, but with a more nuanced concentration on
“feeding true to the hunt,” with meat blends and organs adding
depth to dog food formulas in the category.
So will we see a flurry of new diets that boast their non-GMO
status or fine culinary focus in the aisles of SuperZoo this year or
perhaps next? Either way, there are only a few weeks left to go
until SuperZoo 2018, which will be the last major pet trade show of
2018 in the U.S. and the perfect opportunity to try to spot the latest
trends and see firsthand which ones have transferred over from
human retail spaces.
In the meantime, check out our recap of Global Pet Expo (page
8) and the Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference (page 10), as well as
our annual Sizzling Stock feature (page 23), which brings you the
hottest products in a wide range of categories.
The theme of this year’s Global Pet Expo, which was held in Orlando,
Fla., March 21-23, was “All under one roof.” Here’s a look at some of the
finned and furry pets that joined pet industry professionals under the
event’s gigantic roof.