By Bianca Kapteyn

In March, I attended Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, the largest pet industry show in North America. The event is hosted by the American Pet Product Association (APPA) and the business group Pet Industry Distributors.

 It’s a trade show with more than a thousand pet product manufacturers from around the globe, showcasing a plethora of new and innovative pet products directed at the multi-billion-dollar consumer market.

 Industry Facts  

Regardless of economic uncertainly, the pet industry remains strong and resilient, according to APPA’S latest Pet Ownership and Spending Data.

The data for 2022 revealed year-to-year increases in every spending category by America’s 87 million pet-caring humans.

By the numbers. 

$136.8 billion (U.S.) in total sales (+10.8%)

 $58.1 billion was spent on pet foods and treats (+16.2%)

 $35.9 billion on veterinary care and products (+4.2%)

 $31.5 billion on supplies , purchase of live animals and OTC (over-the-counter) meds (+5.7%)

 $11.4 billion on other services (grooming, dog walking, boarding, etc.) (+20%)

What we learned at the show. 

Actions speak louder than words. “Sustainability” is not just a catch phrase in marketing-speak. Brands appear to be listening to what pet parents want, products that align with their own values and sensibility – notably Gen Z and Millennials, who are the largest cohorts in companion pet ownership since the pandemic. The narrative is “what’s good for us is good for them.”

 What does it sustainability mean for brands?   It would depend on what steps brands have adopted into practice ­­– whether it’s reducing one’s carbon footprint in waste and by-products, limited additive ingredients in pet food and treats, packaging and eco-friendly enrichment toys.  With environmental and food security pressures happening around the globe, it is our responsibility to be proactive consumers and we expect manufacturing companies to follow sustainable tenets as well.

What was seen at the show.

Attending a tradeshow this size can be overwhelming.  It is a milieu of literally everything you need to enhance all lives in the companion-animal kingdoms.  Perhaps not so much for squirrels.

Our time was spent walking the show floor in the Natural Pet specialty section, previewing the latest new products making their debut. The big takeaway for 2023 is the emerging trend in human crossover influences in bespoke wellness – e.g. interest in pre-and-probiotics, and other food and nutrition categories.

The seemingly endless inventory includes wearable tech-driven flea-repellents, eco-friendly enrichment toys, holistic treats, biometric wearables, wellness pee pads, rapid pregnancy tests for dogs and stylized pop culture dog beds.

That’s all fur now.