SuperZoo is a great trade show for folks who own retail businesses involving pets: pet stores, grooming businesses, dog training, etc. For me, a dog owner with my husband, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center show is fascinating, but also a bit intimidating. Fancy clothes and fancy eats are really not part of our dogs’ home routines. In fact, we’re still in the kibble stage — with occasional treats and table scraps. However, after attending SuperZoo 2014, I think I’ll need to look for dog beds with changeable sheets, treats that celebrate the holidays, closet space for the beagles’ fancy duds and dog food that is grain-free, corn-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and who knows, perhaps even blessed by Michelle Obama.
I talked to one gentleman with a new company called Caru Pet Food, and he basically said that much of the pet food industry is going back to the day when people food and dog food were similar. His company makes natural stews and treats. His is the first company to pack wet food for dogs in a tetra-pack container, he says. The food has a long shelf life, but only a three-day life once the package is opened. I saw a sample of the food and it looked like something that could be on any adult’s dinner plate. Each pack will retail for about $5, so for many pet owners, Caru Pet Food will be an occasional treat, or as was suggested, the food of choice when the pet is recovering from illness or injury.
And Caru isn’t alone. Many other producers of pet food are claiming “pure” ingredients, “natural” ingredients and even ingredients from lands and animals that I never would have thought could please my pets. In the accompanying video, for example, you will see turkey feet as chewy items for dogs. The poultry feet looked mighty dry, pointy and unappetizing, but I guess they, too, now fall into the “gourmet dog treat” category.
We’re told that the country has more than 13,000 pet stores with revenues of $15.9 billion a year. Some 20,000 people attend SuperZoo, a World Pet Association trade show that goes back to 1951. One of the pluses for the show for visitors whom, we’ll guess, are pet lovers is that plenty of pets attend, and they are friendly and beautiful, not at all afraid of posing for photos.
The three-day pet industry showcase is called the industry’s largest and most well-attended trade show in North America. The event included a fast-growth boot camp, groomer instructions, classes at “SuperZoo University”, a concert by the Doobie Brothers and keynote speaker Raymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and a panelist on ABC’s Shark Tank TV program. SuperZoo also says it is “the place to go for innovation”. Indeed.