Were any of you fortunate enough to attend Interzoo
in Nuremberg, Germany, last week? I'm honored to say I was. For anyone who's not aware of this event, it's billed as the largest pet trade show in the world, and I for one see no reason to dispute that claim. It's huge. As in 10 halls full of exhibits, easily outpacing most other pet trade shows around the world by a factor of five to 10.
For one thing, it happens only every two years, which allows everyone involved--exhibiting companies, pet store buyers, other pet industry professionals, media, etc.--to gear up for a big event. And, because of its history--this was the 31st time it took place--it has built a reputation as the global gathering place for people working in the pet trade.
* The number of exhibitors (1,502) from 53 countries represented a 4% increase from 2008;
* 38,000+ trade visitors from 117 countries, a 3% rise over 2008, perused the exhibitors' stands;
* Those stands covered a record area of over 90,000 square meters.
Many of the exhibitors were displaying petfood and treat products or supplies/equipment for making them. I don't have an official count, but it was well over 100 companies. And, unlike in the US, many of those products included ones for pet birds and small mammals, which are growing markets in Europe and other regions.
I tried to visit as many of those petfood-related booths as I could and tweeted
, photographed and videotaped several of them. (Watch for some of the videos soon on our Petfood Industry
Though I was amazed by the sheer number of petfood products on display, I really didn't see anything I considered truly innovative. That observation seemed to be shared by several other petfood professionals I talked with; one speculated that because of the recession, many petfood companies--especially the major players--put development of any big new products on hold as a precaution.
So what we saw at Interzoo mirrored what we've seen at recent US events: mainly line and brand extensions (new flavors, sizes, packaging, etc.). Which begs the question: As the economy recovers, will pet manufacturers re-open the new product development pipelines?