We still like to meet. Despite our digital connectivity, nothing has yet to replace tactile human interaction. So, at Interzoo2018, with the memory of miles walked, we put on our hiking shoes. #Interzoo2018
We’re glad we did. We learned the humanization trend, innovation and sustainability were all hot topics at Interzoo2018. Now with the global trade fair in the rear view mirror, we can report roughly 39,000 trade visitors from more than 125 countries learned about the latest pet food and pet care products, accessories and services for dogs, cats, fish and many other pets. The offerings in the New Products Showcase ranged from Dogness Smart Devices (NASDAQ: DOGZ) to freeze-dried whole duck heads by Vital Essentials Carnivore Company of the U.S. Vector-Food Natural Chews for Dogs exemplified the variety of treats including Vector-Food whole rabbit ears with hair to aid in digestion. Paleo goes canine continues.
The number of exhibitors rose by 9 percent. A total of 1,989 vendors from 66 countries presented in an overall exhibition area of more than 120,000 square meters.
“With 83 percent of exhibitors coming from outside of Germany, the level of international participation reached a new record. The highly sophisticated presentations by these vendors from all over the world were especially remarkable,”said Hans-Jochen Büngener, Chairman of the Interzoo Exhibition Committee.
Goodnewsforpets reports we saw first-hand the expansive nature and high quality in design, presentation of materials and welcoming format of miles of exhibition booths. We visited as many as we could within our timeframe to ascertain both the U.S. and European perspectives.
Herbert Bollhöfer, Managing Director of Interzoo organizer WZF GmbH, spoke of the positive mood among the exhibitors: “The companies were thrilled by the enormous international trade possibilities and expect good follow-on business.”
U.S. companies were represented in the U.S. pavilion and other areas of the fair including among them: Planet Dog, Kurgo, Earthbath, Sleepypod and for the first time, award-winning Fetch…for Pets. According to a Sleepypod representative the opportunity to network with both EU and non EU customers and prospects was strong. The company is planning to open a European distribution center in July 2018.
The Interzoo’s expanded supporting program including a Retail Tour, Country Sessions, various live acts and short topic-related conferences, met with an extremely positive response among exhibitors and visitors alike,”Bollhöfer reported.
Interzoo’s growth is a reflection of the growth of the international pet supplies market, which grew to more than EUR 98 billion last year, according to statements made by Norbert Holthenrich, President of the German Pet Trade & Industry Association (ZZF). The pet supplies industry expects this trend to continue: “Industrially manufactured premium goods are now in demand in eastern and south-eastern Europe. There is still development potential in South America and Asia, and also in Africa,” Holthenrich continued. Above all, interest in pet ownership is growing worldwide, including in Germany: Today, almost half of all households in Germany have a pet, as compared to only one third just ten years ago.
The pet supplies industry continues to utilize the latest scientific findings to invent and refine premium pet products.
“Many exhibitors improved their recipes for premium pet food, developed snacks with active additional benefits, and presented technical solutions for aquariums and terrariums,” said ZZF President Norbert Holthenrich.
Animal lovers are looking for products to provide optimal care for their pets. Some pet food companies introduced insect proteins into their pet food formulas.
The Interzoo Sustainability Initiative was introduced at Interzoo 2018 for the first time. “In our survey of exhibitors, 80 percent stated that sustainability aspects will be very important or extremely important for the pet industry in general and for their own companies in the next three years,” said Dr Rowena Arzt, Director Exhibitions at WZF GmbH, at a press conference. “Sixty four percent of the companies stated that they have already made meaningful progress on this front.” With this initiative, Interzoo organiser WZF, together with the Sustainable Transformation Lab of Antwerp School of Management (AMS), wants to provide an industry-wide overview on existing activities and point out ways how the pet supplies industry can implement sustainability topics more effectively and successfully.
Finally, we met with Paul Bakuwel, Secretary General of Ornamental Fish International, (OFI) the group that initially brought me to the first Interzoo at Nuremberg. OFI has been deeply involved in addressing sustainability and conservation efforts with conservation groups for years, but now is actively communicating what is being done in this area due to the increasing restrictions, most recently the Hawaiian ban on wild fish collecting. Although most hobby fish come from farm-raised fish, a portion are still wild caught and can be done so using sustainable methods. You can read more in my blog post.
The next Interzoo will be held in Nuremberg again from Tuesday, 19 May, to Friday, 22 May 2020. Start saving for your exhibition stand, and those walking shoes…it’s worth the hike.