gredients like fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs.
The Hagen Group in Mansfield, Mass., highlighted
new products in several categories at this year’s show.
“The aquatics team launched the Fluval 3.0 Blue-tooth enabled LED lights, our dog team came through
with two great lines of consumables and our Exo Terra team launched the Tiki Kits,” said Damian Hall,
marketing communications manager at the company.
For many, their time at the show brought to light
much broader trends and developments in the pet
industry as a whole.
Eric Abbey is a longtime exhibitor at the show and
has attended Global Pet Expo since its earliest days.
“The pet industry is seeing a tremendous amount
of change, with more frequent acquisitions of smaller companies by larger companies, the explosive
growth of online retail, and the challenges that brick-and-mortar retailers face as they navigate changing
consumer behavior, price sensitivities and convenience,” said Abbey, president and founder
of Loving Pets in Cranbury, N.J., adding that he
always walks the show floor to take note of emerging
trends and signs of saturation in product categories.
Kevin Fick, CEO of Worldwise—a Novato,
Calif.-based company with brands such as goDog
toys, Petlinks toys and Sherpa travel accessories—
said that based on his experience at the show, the
industry seems as healthy as ever.
“Increasingly, we are seeing retailers wanting
to partner with us due to our holistic approach to
category/data management, consumer insight driven product innovations, and a strong supply chain,
which delivers on our commitments,” he said.
Fick added that attendees were also focused
on finding products that brought something new
to the table.
“We also felt that attendees were recognizing and
rewarding true innovation versus ‘me too’ products,
as they know this is what it will take to excite and
delight their customers,” he said.
A CHANCE TO CONNECT
In addition to showcasing new products, Hall said,
Global Pet Expo is the perfect setting for building relationships with retail partners.
“Shows give us the opportunity to meet and con-
nect with our retail partners and get a better under-
standing of what they need from us,” he said. “We
can take the time to educate our retail partners about
While the show offers exhibitors the opportuni-
ty to engage with retail buyers, the enormity of the
show seemed somewhat daunting for attendees, Hall
“Speaking about the show itself, attendees really
need to manage their time at the shows to maximize
the limited time available to meet with a variety of
vendor partners, plus to see all the new and unique
products launching over the three days,” he said.
Hart agreed that the show’s size might make it
hard for attendees.
“The show is very time consuming to walk through
completely, so we did hear the comment that it is over-
whelming to ‘see everything,’” he said. “However, the
show continues to be a ‘must’ in terms of attending as
an exhibitor and wholesale or retail participant.”
Abbey concurred that the show is a key destina-
tion for businesses in the industry.
“Loving Pets welcomes and appreciates all of the
unique opportunities that Global Pet Expo offers
our team,” he said. “We can connect with both U.S.
and North American retailers as well as retailers,
buyers and distributors from customers all around
5 1. Colleen McCracken, CEO of Planet Dog, talked to show
attendees about the company’s interactive dog toys.
2. The Nieman family, Bryan, Kathy, Dan and Tom, celebrated
the launch of Fromm’s Rancherosa formula.
3. Aquascaper Oliver Knott demonstrated his talents at
Hagen Group’s Fluval display.
4. Brandon McMillan, host of the CBS show “Lucky Dog,”
signed copies of his book “Lucky Dog Lessons” at the Pet
Product News booth.
5. Jennifer Cao, vice president of ZippyPaws, showed off the
company’s new line of food burrow interactive toys.
RECAP CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
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