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17 Pet Brands Spot Industry Trends for 2022 and Beyond

We asked leading pet product manufacturers what they see as the biggest industry trends for 2022 and how their products fit into them.

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For the March-April issue of PETS+, we reached out to leading brands and asked them to share what they see as the biggest pet industry trends for 2022 and how their products fit into them. The response was overwhelming! From an expanded focus on “wellness” to new functional ingredient combinations to the continued rise in sustainable products, keep these trends in mind and products when shopping at Global Pet Expo — whether in person or from home. We’ll be reporting live from the show March 23-25 here at PETS+ and on Facebook.

WELLNESS PRODUCTS

Alexandra Barone, sales and marketing coordinator, Tall Tails

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

The social climate we entered in March of 2020 has made an impact on the pet industry. With the rise in new pets added to U.S. households throughout the pandemic, many by millennials and first-time pet parents, the industry needed to propel itself forward to accommodate the work-from-home lifestyle and demographic ownership. We needed to make a shift in how we market to our consumers — become a digitally optimized brand with relevant content that would reach these social-savvy pet parents.

It is a fact that millennials would say their pet is like their child. Brands like ours aim to provide the highest quality products to satisfy these trending needs of our consumers, especially due to the shift to working from home. Pet parents are more conscious of their home décor choices, now more than ever, looking for pet products that complement their home’s aesthetic. For example, our bedding is created in neutral colorways to accommodate any home’s décor and create a warm, comforting and secure place for their pet to “Rest, Relax and Recover.”

I see the strongest growing trends in “Wellness.” Products such as calming aids are emerging everywhere you look. But when we think of wellness, we look beyond just food or what goes into our dog’s bodies. When developing our beds, blankets and toys, we put great care and thought into how they will benefit our consumers’ pets. Our newest bed, releasing this year, the Dream Chaser Cuddle Bed, takes comfort to the next level with its Real Feel Fabric while providing a calming effect for the pet.

During this time, we have also dived deep into how we can best support our retailers when it comes to current consumer buying habits. We have developed a method to provide retailers with an easy, one-stop-shop inventory solution. As products become more expensive across all industries and inflation rises, retailers and pet parents are becoming more cost-conscious. Tall Tails is the brand-of-choice for retailers because they can source a vast assortment of products from one vendor. The Toy Brand Block Program allows retailers to merchandise a concise assortment of toys that meet the needs of all customers, providing “Toys for Every Tail.”

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How our products or services fit into these trends:

Every product we offer is made with the ideal of “Wellness Beyond Food.” We look at wellness as not only what our dogs eat, but what can be added to enrich their lives through “Play, Sleep and Explore.” We design toys with pet and pet parents in mind. Interactive play not only stimulates their dog physically and mentally, but pet parents are also able to build and enhance the bond they share with their best friend, creating a happy and healthy life together. With baby-soft blankets and bedding, we aim to provide pet parents with the tools to create a dreamy place for their dogs to “Rest, Relax and Recover” after a long day of play. When pet parents want to take fun beyond the backyard, we encourage them to “Discover, Wander and Explore” with their dog with accessories built for the adventure.

Our products help round out wellness when it comes to the lives of pets and pet parents. This year, to take wellness to the next level, we are introducing the calming Dream Chaser Cuddle Beds. These luxurious beds are designed to comfort our dogs and give them the same cuddly and secure feeling they had as kittens and puppies. Our Reel Feel Fabric is specially selected super-soft fabric that creates a nurturing and secure environment facilitating their best rest.

What is great about Tall Tails is that we are new dog-friendly; we consistently speak to “welcoming a new dog home for the first time.” And with the rise in new pet parents, we are a great option for first-time dog owners to build their dog’s first sleep spot, along with building their arsenal of toys from our newly recategorized online and in-store shopping experience. We have built out our website and hang-tag strategy to accommodate a dog’s play style. No matter which category their dog fits into, every pet parent is sure to find the perfect toys for their dog. Our categories are as follows: Fetch Play, Tug Play, Sensory Play and Reward Play. This recategorization is meant to help guide and educate pet parents and store associates to easily choose the right toy for their dog or customer.

Our pets are our babies, and we at Tall Tails encourage all pet parents to “Baby Your Pet,” no matter their stage in life.

PET FOOD & TREATS

Jen Beechen, vice president of marketing for ORIJEN and ACANA, Champion Pet Foods

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

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The humanization of pet food continues to be a strong trend. Pet lovers want for their pets what they want for themselves — premium quality nutrition, sustainably sourced ingredients and great taste. Pet lovers are increasingly aware of the foods they put in their bodies and similarly intentional about what they feed their dogs and cats, and premium ingredients like animal protein, fruits, vegetables and grains are always high priorities for them. They also care about where ingredients come from, how they are sourced and how they are prepared.

There’s also a trend to meet consumers wherever they prefer to shop. That’s why we work closely with our brick-and-mortar retailer partners and our major online sellers so we can satisfy the needs of pet lovers looking for personal interaction, advice and convenience.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

The new ORIJEN and ACANA foods we launched recently have allowed us to reach more pet lovers than ever before and many of them deliver on the humanization trend, including:

  • ACANA Healthy Grains, a protein-packed dog food that features premium grains like millet, sorghum and oats
  • ACANA Freeze-Dried Food, a flavor-packed, fully balanced alternative to dry food that can be served on its own or as an enticing meal topper
  • ACANA and ORIJEN High Protein Biscuits, a guilt-free way to treat dogs
  • ACANA and ORIJEN Premium Wet Dog Food, a fully balanced meal option packed with premium animal chunks and shreds and can also be fed as an enticing meal topper
  • ACANA and ORIJEN Premium Wet Cat Food, a fully balanced meal option packed with premium animal ingredients and bone broth to help introduce more moisture into a cat’s diet
  • ORIJEN Amazing Grains, an animal protein-packed dog food that includes a super-premium grain blend of quinoa, millet, chia, oat groats and whole oats for digestive health

We developed ORIJEN Amazing Grains, a new line of premium, grain-inclusive dog food and a first for ORIJEN, right here in our DogStar kitchen located in Auburn, KY. We recognized that pet lovers were looking for more options in premium pet food that not only prioritized quality animal ingredients, but one that included healthy grains. ORIJEN Amazing Grains features 90%* WholePrey animal ingredients and a super-premium grain blend of quinoa, millet, chia, whole oats and oat groats to support digestive health. *Approximate and derived from the unprocessed state of the ingredients

We’re officially launching five new ORIJEN Amazing Grains recipes at Global Pet Expo in March: Original, Six Fish, Regional Red, Puppy and Puppy Large. U.S. pet lovers will be able to purchase any of the five new recipes through their local neighborhood pet store, Chewy, Petco and Amazon shortly after.

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Kambria Newton, trade marketing manager, Petcurean

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

This year, we see a number of emerging trends in the pet food industry that are worth noting:

  • Continued focus on functional recipes that meet a specific dietary need, ailment or preference
  • An increased shift to focus on cat wellness and health
  • Increased premiumization and humanization of pets, as pets today are seen more and more as important members of the family

On the B2B front, we also anticipate new ways of doing business within the pet food industry to propel the industry forward. For example, to compete in a highly competitive retailer landscape, we know that retailers are increasingly adding more of an online and digital presence to their portfolios. It is more important than ever before to meet consumers where they’re shopping. During the pandemic and as we emerge post-pandemic, consumers are increasingly moving to online shopping for their pet food needs. At Petcurean, our goal is to meet consumers where they’re at in order to elevate the ecommerce side of our business, including resources to help retailers such as:

  • Promoboxx: This retail marketing platform is powered by brands to give retailers stronger marketing content to use in their promotions to customers. Petcurean believes in utilizing accessible platforms like these to support our retailers where and how we can as they strive to educate and reach consumers.
  • eTail Pet: At Petcurean, we also have a partnership with eTail that allows us to better support retailers in any way we can as they navigate the ecommerce world. Founded by an independent pet store owner, eTail is a full-service solution created for pet retailers by a pet business owner with firsthand experience. We intentionally work with partners like eTail that share our passion for putting pets first to better serve retailers together.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Continued focus on functional recipes that meet a specific dietary need, ailment or preference: At Petcurean, we recognize that pet food doesn’t take a “one size fits all” approach, and our team of nutrition experts formulates recipes — such as those in our GO! SOLUTIONS collection — that meet a variety of different needs and preferences. Made with premium ingredients, our GO! SOLUTIONS recipes feature expertly crafted dry and wet food recipes to address your cat or dog’s specific needs, covering everything from skin and coat health to limited ingredient recipes and more, in a variety of different wet food textures and kibble shapes and sizes. We will also be launching new solutions this spring: GO! WEIGHT MANAGEMENT + JOINT CARE and GO! DIGESTION + GUT HEALTH and can’t wait to share more information soon!

A noticeable shift to focus on cats and cat health: This is a focus area for us. Cats are notoriously picky eaters and we have developed a variety of cat-specific recipes all formulated with urinary health in mind in many different textures and flavors to give them the proper nutrition they need. Our GO! SOLUTIONS Collection, for example, offers recipes that target specific needs, including skin and coat care, carnivore recipes, and limited-ingredient recipes for food sensitivities. Cats are also known for limiting their water intake, and our wet cat food recipes — which are also packaged in sustainable, reclosable Tetra Pak cartons — are a great addition to help them meet their fluid requirements.

The continued premiumization and humanization of pets: Now more than ever, pet parents value their pets as key members of their family, and it is becoming more and more common to feed their pets the same quality of food they would themselves and their family. What’s more, today’s consumers are looking for choice and variety when it comes to feeding their pets, on top of high-quality ingredients and products that contribute to their overall health and wellness. Petcurean is committed to putting pets first in the recipes we develop through expert nutritionists, the trusted suppliers we source our premium ingredients from, and more. As a result, we are also focused on providing recipes that meet a variety of palates, needs, dietary restrictions and lifestyles through our three main collections, GO! SOLUTIONS, NOW FRESH and GATHER.

Greg Cyr, CEO and president of Mid America Pet Food, manufacturer of VICTOR

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

We continue to see an increased demand from consumers around how nutritional benefits are communicated. We know pet parents remain busy as ever and their options for feeding their loyal companions have continued to grow. They want high quality nutrition that works, and want to quickly understand how and why.

Because of our science-based approach to nutrition, we’ve always been confident in our formulas. We have countless amounts of research showcasing how and why our formulas work as well as they do. The fun part lately has been simplifying the science for our pet parents, in order to share it in a way that is quickly understood.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

A great example of how we’re communicating the science behind our brand is with our proprietary VPRO Blend. VPRO is included in every bag of VICTOR kibble (dog and cat), and at a scientifical level we have plenty of research that breaks down its benefits — but not everyone has time to really dig in that deep and review how it appears in the ingredients, and decipher what it’s really doing for their pet. We work to bring the science to life in a way that consumers can quickly appreciate, sharing that VPRO is designed to maximize the genetic potential of your pet, and our Feline VPRO Blend works to provide super premium nutrition to your cat while supporting a healthy coat, immune system function, and maintaining a healthy weight.

For example, we’ve featured our Feline VPRO lockup right on the front of the packaging in our new expanded cat line. As pet parents shop they’ll see the power of our nutrition front and center, and they can get a quick glimpse into the science behind our nutrition, giving them confidence in what they’re feeding.

Andrea Bourne, senior marketing specialist, Pure Treats Inc.

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

We’ve seen two major trends continue to grow this year among pet parents. First, pet parents are looking at and challenging every ingredient that goes into the treats and food they feed their pets every day. Second, pet parents are looking for treats and toppers that offer the health benefits of functional ingredients to support their pet’s health and they are looking for a fun, interactive way to treat or spruce up mealtime.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

We decided to take those trends and apply our PureBites philosophy of using only simple high-quality ingredients by developing new fun, interactive squeezable treats with functional benefits. This past fall, we launched PureBites+ Squeezables for dogs and cats that can be fed as a healthy and functional treat or topper and are made with only five human-grade ingredients pet parents can trust. They are available in three daily health-support formulas: Digestion with pumpkin and inulin, Skin & Coat with 113 mg of omega-3 and 1065 mg of omega-6, and Heart & Eyes with 276 mg of taurine and carrots. What makes these treats and toppers so different is that they are made in a fun and interactive squeezable pouch, so that snack time or mealtime can be exciting for picky eaters. Our squeezable pouches can be easily merchandised in a tray, on a shelf or pegged anywhere in a pet store and with a $1.69- $1.99 suggested retail price, PureBites+ Squeezables will deliver great incremental sales to pet specialty stores across North America.

Cynthia Dunston Quirk, founder, Scout & Zoe’s

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

An increased focus on sustainability, in ingredients and sourcing.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

At Scout & Zoe’s, we have three pillars that are met with every product we have available in our assortment: Do good for the pet, the planet and the community. Utilizing black soldier fly larvae in our products is very good for the pet and the environment and ultimately, our community.

How the black soldier fly larvae are grown and what they eat makes them very sustainable. The larvae feed on fruits and veggies that are past their prime and heading to the landfill. So the little larvae are cleaning up the environment, just eating they are upcycling raw fruits and veggies. The lifecycle of the larvae is three weeks from egg state to larvae, and they are voracious eaters. They grow 1 million percent of their body weight and utilize no additional water as they grow. All the water they need is available in the fruit and veggies consumed.

Another thing that makes utilizing black soldier fly larvae so sustainable is that it takes less land to raise the larvae than it does cattle. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Services, it takes 546 acres of land to raise 300 head of cattle. On that same acreage, billions of black soldier fly larvae can hatch, develop and be harvested utilizing the space above the ground as well as the ground itself. At any given time, there are billions of critters… approximately 5% flies and 95% larvae in one living in a vertical complex about 15 feet tall. The larvae also emit less carbon and methane gas, which is good for protecting the ozone layer, and need no additional water to grow.

Every portion of the larvae is utilized; nothing is wasted, not even their waste or frass. The frass is added to fertilizer or compost much like horse or cow manure. This makes the larvae a circular economy; every portion of the bug is utilized.

Another thing that is so perfect with the black soldier fly larvae is that it is good for several species… dogs, birds, fowl (indoor and outdoor), poultry, small mammals, insect-eating fish, reptiles and amphibians.

The black soldier fly larvae is, on average, 50% protein and it is a complete protein. These little larvae pack a nutritional punch containing omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, up to 35% lipids, calcium, lysine, phosphorus, high lauric acid content, and are rich in amino acids as well as additional minerals. All of these nutrients help to boost immunity and support bones in healthy animals. Now that the larvae have been approved by AAFCO, many companies are following our innovation by utilizing the black soldier fly larvae in food and treats.

There has been an education curve for Scout & Zoe’s as the pioneer in utilizing this alternative protein; education of both the retailer and the consumer. Both want nutritious, healthy products for pets. Retailers seek unique products to set them apart from big box stores in their area. Scout & Zoe’s Super Fly Black Soldier Fly products are just that. Healthy, nutritious, good for the pet and good for the planet.

SUPPLEMENTS

Mandy Gayle, senior sales director, Open Farm

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

One of the biggest emerging trends we’re seeing right now is growth within the pet supplements category. Over the past few years, we’ve seen this category grow significantly online, and it is gaining momentum among neighborhood pet retailers as more pet parents look to incorporate supplements into their pet’s feeding routines. What we’re seeing is also backed by a recent study from Global Market Trajectory and Analytics. They project the Pet Dietary Supplements category to be a $3 Billion USD category by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6% from 2020-2027.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Open Farm is launching five new supplements this Spring, each developed to be efficacious and solution-oriented. All five of the new releases feature natural, human-grade, science-backed ingredients which, like all Open Farm products, are fully traceable back to the source. This level of transparency gives pet parents peace of mind about what their pet is consuming every day.

Sam Chen, sales director, NPIC

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

One major trend we see in the pet treats/chews category is the increasing awareness of pet wellness because pet owners want their pets to live longer, happier and healthier. And that sort of goes hand in hand with another trend, which is premiumization. The pet category has been going through the same transition as did the food and beverage category a few years ago — heavier lean toward natural, high-quality ingredients, the organic and non-GMO claims as pet owners become more mindful of what they give to the pets. For NPIC, we feel fortunate to be in this position because the natural, quality and functional benefits have been the focus of our product development for more than two decades. The amount of knowledge we have when it comes to formulation and pets’ functional needs empowered us to create the products loved by our customers.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

The focus on the overall wellness of pets has been the driving force behind our Get Naked brand, which is an award-winning pioneer that leads in the functional pet treats category. Through extensive research in the products, the market and the consumers, we identified several key areas that are critical to the wellness of pets, such as joint, skin and coat, digestion, immunity, and weight management.

To really meet the needs of the pets, while giving the owners the confidence, we carefully crafted our formulas to include high-quality, natural ingredients to support these functional areas. For example, our Get Naked Premium Bones — Calming Care, one of the few calming products free of CBD or any drugs, include chamomile, lemon balm and lavender essential oil — all known, natural ingredients for the calming effect, so the owners can give them to their dogs confidently. And then there’s Get Naked Joint Health Dental Sticks, which are fortified with glucosamine, chondroitin and Omega-3 fatty acid to support flexibility and mobility. We know this is extremely important because many pet owners like to take their dogs to nature and roam free, and we want to be here to support that so they can enjoy the fun.

Also, we developed three different product formats — bones, sticks, and soft treats — and re-launched with new packaging and improved formulas in 2021 so pet owners can give these treats to their beloved dogs on any occasion, as dental treats or rewarding treats, but with functional benefits and not just empty calories. We still have many exciting innovations that are in the pipeline and we will introduce them when they are ready.

Tracy Werner, sales manager Pet Channel, One Farm by WAAYB

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

One the human side of CBD, every single major player is veering away from CBD as a stand-alone product but rather as a synergistic ingredient in wellness focused products. In addition to CBD, you will see other functional, condition-specific ingredients used. We are just starting to see that on the pet side of CBD and I think that you will see this trend explode in the coming years.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Ziggy Marley’s Apawthecary by One Farm’s product launch calendar for 2022 is very full and exciting as we are developing new condition-specific wellness products with CBD as one of the ingredients in tasty new delivery methods. One new product that we launched late last year, Romeo’s Agility Chews, is a comprehensive anti-inflammatory peanut butter treat with ingredients known to reduce pain and inflammation, increase mobility and prevent the progression of osteoarthritis in dogs.

Launching in 2022 are the Ziggy Marley’s Apawthecary superfood toppers that address the most common complaints from pet parents that retailers hear about — the first will be a USDA Organic-certified beef bone broth based “Agility” topper to help with joint care and inflammation. We are also partnering this year with an Austin local bakery for some boutique packaged soft biscuits.

GROOMING, CLEANING, ETC.

Pete Stirling, co-founder and CEO, Skout’s Honor

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

Functional grooming and wellness products have (and are continuing to) become a big thing. Specifically, non-medicated products that take a more natural and preventative wellness approach to solving common skin health issues. People, especially the younger age groups that make up the majority of first-time pet owners today, are taking the humanization of pets to a new level and are seeking regular personal care/maintenance routines similar to what they practice at home for themselves. These consumers are looking for more than just natural ingredients. They want natural ingredients that serve a purpose and actively provide a benefit.

Cleaning (stain and odor) products that are both environmentally responsible and work extremely well are in high demand. In the past, customers often had to choose between a product that worked at getting the dirty work done, or one that wasn’t trashing the environment. Thankfully that is no longer the case and there are products that can do both at the same time.

Natural flea and tick is really coming on as more people discover the downsides and dangers to traditional medicated solutions. The latest trend is in clove oil extract and we are on it.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Our vision has always been to change what people expect from a pet product. Make each purchase one they are proud to make, from a brand they enjoy and improve the quality of life for pets and their people. We won’t do anything if we can’t do it better and ultimately want to make products our grandchildren would be proud of that eliminate the barriers between pets and their people living their best life.

Our grooming and wellness products leverage patent pending topical probiotic technology to actively provide non-medicated relief from many of life’s most common pet skin issues.

Our green cleaning technology is still the most powerful and environmentally responsible cleaning solution on the market.

Our non-medicated flea and tick products not only work, but they smell good too!

Our training products are safer, natural solutions to discourage unwanted pet behavior.

Dallas Van Kempen, president and owner, EQyss Grooming Products

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

Covid has changed everything. Obviously. From the initial Amazon panic buying (which hurt stores in addition to closures), to the whiplash of price gouging, back to stores that went above and beyond in terms of service. People have been adding furry members of their family at unprecedented levels and spending more time at home, so the pet business is BOOMING!

However, supply and delivery issues are a problem for stores, manufacturers and the retail customer above all! Stores that adapted to curbside pickup or delivery have done well. Grooming and especially mobile grooming have seen big growth. People want to spend more time with their fur kids, and they want them to be clean and smell good. I have seen less innovation in the industry (in the sector that I am in) as far as product development than innovation at the retail store.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

We make shampoos and conditioner that are pleasingly fragranced (with the owner in mind), the scent lasts, without being overpowering and perfumey, and we make a variety of easy-to-use-and-apply sprays that smell even better and can be used multiple times a day if needed/wanted, without getting everyone and everything wet (especially nice in winter!). We have been receiving lots of positive feedback and praise on this fact. Our guarantee is also a huge factor. People feel comforted by the fact that we stand behind our products 100%. The stores appreciate it, too, because it makes customer service easier for store staff when dealing with our product line.

Julie Creed, vice president of sales and marketing, Pure and Natural Pet

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

Since Covid, we have seen a growing trend in wipes as more people are home with their pets. It’s important for consumers to know that baby wipes are not safe for pets, as they often contain fragrance that can be toxic when licked.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Our Pure and Natural Pet Biodegradable Fragrance-Free Pet Wipes are a great solution for grooming and cleansing your pet from nose to tail. Having a wipe that’s safe for your pet also needs to be safe for the planet. We have many options in our natural wipe category, from biodegradable and flushable wipes to task-specific wipes like our Tear Stain Removing Under Eye Wipes, our Cat-Safe Unscented Cleansing Wipes and our Natural Canine Flea & Tick Wipes.

PET LOSS

Remy Bibaud, co-founder, Pet Perennials

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

The “trend” or should I say “necessity” that we offer retailers is differentiation. What better way to connect more deeply with a customer, elevate your social clout and stand out from the competition than by using our Direct to Client Gift Service? Helping a client commemorate important milestones in their pet’s life leaves a lasting impression.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

We now offer complete gift packages and cards that recognize:

  • Pet Loss
  • Get Well
  • Birthdays
  • New and Adopted Pets
  • Human Sympathy (this does happen)
  • Milestones – engagements, wedding and babies
  • Card and Decal Combos (for a little gift inside or a card)

Sending personalized packages to clients and employees is the best marketing/PR a business can do.

We also will be bringing out a new line called Furtique Babies (gifts, stationery, novelty) and our “Charmed” birthstone candle in 2022.

SMALL ANIMAL

John Gerstenberger, VP product development and sourcing, Ware Pet Products

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

For small animal, we are seeing a movement to larger habitats (e.g. more space), a focus on natural enrichment (e.g. natural chews and treats) and a focus on Holiday programs (e.g. items focused on Easter, Halloween. Christmas, etc).

COVID IMPACT: Like other categories in the pet industry, extra time at home saw people focusing on pet acquisition including small animals. This extra boost of ownership should afford positive carry-over in consumable categories like food, bedding, hay, chew and enrichment for years to come.

HOW CUSTOMERS PURCHASE: With Covid, online sales obviously jumped but there was also a substantial increase for brick stores as well, particularly those that were able to offer a car pick-up option, in-store pick-up option, and/or delivery option.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Hardest part as of late has been supply-chain disruptions, which have created various customer service challenges when items wanted/ordered are not available. The better retailers have been creative in suggesting alternatives, that while are not the exact item being searched for, are a good alternative that solves the pet parents problem.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Ware sells an assortment of small animal items including habitats, chews and enrichment items. Ware takes great pride in researching/developing items to solve pet parent challenges and make the overall pet owning experience better.

TOYS & GEAR

David Hayford, president, Tether Tug

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

I think one of the strongest trends is differentiation. The stores need to look different, they need to smell different, and the staff needs to act different. I really love watching what is happening in toys. If you’re not special or different, you will have a very tough go.

When we entered the market just six years ago, concept was just as important as execution. That has changed in the last three years. Retailers are being held more accountable by their customers. Does this toy do what it says, does this food do what it says?

It’s not news to anyone that we are a more socially conscious society. Pet parents not only focus on how products are made and what they will do, but where and how they are made as well. There is a change happening from how can my dog make me happy to how can I make my dog happy. Toys aren’t just an item to keep your pup busy but also need to be built for enrichment. Owners care more about the mental well being of pets than they did a few years ago.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

Retail, whether it’s independent or mass, is competing with all things e-commerce. They will only win by providing a great experience. A great experience entails a great staff, a well thought out product selection and differentiation. Tether Tug is completely different. We aren’t a different version of something you have. We are unique in all ways. We help the whole dog — Tether Tug works the mind, body and spirit. If a retailer wants to be special, it needs to carry special products. There is a place for standards, but it is equally important to have something other stores don’t.

Every store has a story, almost no one got into the pet business to get rich, they did it for the love of animals, to enrich their lives. Tether Tug is uniquely designed to help meet those needs.

Keith Anderson, associate director of brand, Kurgo:

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

Our research indicates a strong increase in both pet ownership and expenditures. Meanwhile, outdoor recreation continues to see a surge in participation, and the number of Americans taking summer road trips has doubled.

Needless to say, we couldn’t be happier about this news at Kurgo. We’ve always occupied that nexus between outdoor adventure and auto travel, making it safer and easier to get out on the road with our pets. After all, we’re talking about a brand that got its start by finding ways to have safer car trips with a rowdy Plott Hound named Zelda who never could help trying to muscle into the driver’s seat.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

From our award-winning, crash-tested Tru-Fit Harness to the new line of car camping pet gear launching this show cycle, Kurgo specializes in outfitting pets and their owners for outdoor adventure.”

WASTE MANAGEMENT

Paul D. Cannella, founder and president, The Original Poop Bags

What we see as the strongest emerging trends in our segment of the industry:

Consumers, especially younger generations, do their homework and asking tougher questions on certifications, and what they actually mean. I’m amazed by the questions and level of knowledge behind some of the questions we receive about compostable, biodegradable, biobased and more.

How our products or services fit into these trends:

We’re proud to say that I launched the company with certified compostable bags, and we were just named a Pioneer by the USDA BioPreferred Program for being the first pet waste bag company, and one of the first companies overall to be approved in their program. We have some new innovations in development that will blowing the industry wide-open as well.

The entire Peanuts line featuring Snoopy and the gang are the debuts for this year.

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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