How is the market for pet products evolving in large-scale retail? Supermarket chains are investing in the sector, expanding their product assortment and increasing their dedicated pet stores. But that’s not all. There is also growing interest in innovation and customer relations.
This is what emerged during the recent webinar organized by Zoomark, the international B2B show for pet food and pet care, entitled “Large-scale retail: ever more specialized. The new pet product assortment strategies in manufacturing and distribution”.
The second event in the programme leading up to Zoomark (on in BolognaFiere from 15th to 17th May) took stock of developments in pet product assortment in the large-scale retail sector, bringing together the representatives of the new pet stores being opened by supermarket chains, and manufacturers and distributors of pet food and pet accessories.
All the speakers agreed on Zoomark’s key role, as a unique opportunity to present and introduce new products to the market, meet clients and exchange useful information for communicating with consumers.
Pascale Sonvico, the event’s Sales and Show Manager, confirmed this and underlined the record numbers already achieved by Zoomark’s 20th edition – 850 exhibitors, 7 halls, 62,000 square meters of exhibition space. She also highlighted the show’s focus on new products, with the Pet Vision area. Here, visitors to the show will find more than 500 innovative products – which can be previewed on the event’s website – structured to offer key insights into the trends that will shape the market in the coming months and years.
“Made in Italy”, “Free-From” and “Rich-in”
Samanta Correale, Senior Manager in Business Intelligence for GS1 Italy, analyzed the trends in pet food in her presentation entitled “What the labels say”.
Three main themes emerged among the pet food products on display in supermarket chains: “Made in Italy”, “free-from” and “rich-in”. Italian-made products are the most dynamic trend, up 17.7% in the last year (486 products fall into this category). The second biggest rise is that of “free-from” products (+2.8%, with 1,557 products), followed by “rich-in” (+1%, with 1,774 products). The study results by GS1 Italy’s Osservatorio Immagino on consumer spending in Italy, are available on request.
Product assortment and expertise are the key to engaging with pet owners. The two representatives of supermarket-owned pet stores who took part in the webinar – Vincenzo Francioso, Manager of the Conad PetStores, and Marco Tombolesi, Category Manager of Animali Che Passione (Gruppo Selex) – were in agreement.
As Francioso explained, “the Conad PetStore stand out for specialization and innovation. And when it comes to illustrating and promoting the innovations in our stores, where there is direct contact with customers, our personnel’s communication skills are crucial.”
“Communicating with customers and nurturing that relationship, as well as monitoring their level of satisfaction, are essential factors in the Animali che Passione stores too”, confirmed Tombolesi. “We offer innovations to pet owners who want the best for their pets, be it food or non-food products”.
Opportunities for pet food and accessories in the supermarket pet stores
Pet product companies respond rapidly to the demand for innovative products from the supermarket pet stories, and often anticipate it.
“In food, not only are we looking at new products, we are also constantly innovating, improving what is already on the shelves,” explained Edoardo Lano, Sales Director of Morando Spa. “The growing interest in pet products across the board is driving the use of new ingredients, as in the case of superfoods (aloe, pineapple, turmeric, goji berries, rose hips)”. The tendency to adopt formulas and ingredients used in products for humans continues, but, as Lano explained, “for Morando, humanization is fine, but the focus must always be on providing nutritional properties and ingredients specifically tailored to the needs of pets”.
The specialized stores in the large-scale retail sector also represent an opportunity for accessories, offering greater scope to showcase the variety and quality of the products compared to those on sale in supermarkets and hypermarkets, where food products are to the fore.
Dan Franco, President of Rinaldo Franco Spa, endorsed this, highlighting that “the growing attention from these brands represents an opportunity for accessories: until now 90% of products were distributed in the specialized retail channel (with the sole exception of litter products). This results in more scope to present new products, tying in with the trend for humanization. Just think of the accessories made from reclaimed and sustainable materials, very strong trends when it comes to making purchases for pets”.
Ready for the show experience
For more inspiration and to get a feel for the pet market of the future, head to Zoomark, which has been launching and anticipating new trends for 20 editions, offering valuable opportunities to interact with international professionals, as well as a packed programme of educational events, for a Show Experience that throws the focus on innovation.