Posted: October 16, 2012, 2:00 p.m. PST
Editorial Director Melissa Kauffman (left) meets up with BIRD TALK and BirdChannel writer Diane Grindol.
More than 870 pet product manufacturers and service providers from 53 countries
exhibited at SuperZoo 2012
on September 11th through 13th in Las Vegas, Nevada. SuperZoo is a pet product trade show put on annually by the World Pet Association (WPA), a trade association for the pet industry. Attendees to the trade show are pet product buyers, from big box stores to independent brick and mortar pet stores to internet retailers and distributors, plus pet media members like me.
So why should a pet bird owner care about a pet industry trade show? Well, this is where your pet store owner goes to discover the latest bird products to sell in the store. I attended the show this year as I have done many years before. The show lasts three days, and you need all three days to make it around the entire show floor and really get a feel for the new pet products and latest trends.
At SuperZoo, I have the opportunity to really talk with owners and employees of manufacturing companies and get a sense of their products. The people working in the pet industry are very enthusiastic when it comes to keeping pets in the best possible conditions, and they are always striving to create new or improved products. If you get an opportunity to attend a pet industry trade show, I recommend that you do it at least once. It is an amazing – though tiring – experience.
At this year’s show, I bumped into BIRD TALK and BirdChannel writers’ Diane Grindol and Nikki Moustaki. They both were checking out the latest products. It was so great to see them. I also got to speak to some of the employees of well-known and loved avian product brands that I talk to every year at this show. They seem like old friends now. We catch up on products, our companies and our families, which include our birds.
Most of the products exhibited at the trade show are dog products. They make up the majority of the show. Cat, bird, reptile, fish and small animal had a much smaller showing, but the products that were there were still pretty exciting.
Several noticeable trends ran throughout all the new products, all based on trends running through people products. The pet world tends to follow the human world because we people buy things for our pets that we really like, hoping they end up being a home run with our pet when we finally get them home. Some of the trends I noticed:
Earth-friendly, green or natural
Made in the USA or Canada
Replicating what the animal does in the wild, such as foraging
De-stressing, stress relief
White, modern designs, like the look made popular by Apple
During the show, the attendees — aka pet store retailers — get to vote on what they believe are the best new products at the show. Their picks for bird were:
The Java Wood Bird Toys by A&E Cage Company. According to A&E, these are safe, shreddable and edible interactive toys to stimulate mental and physical activity. A&E also won earlier this year at the Global Pet Industry Trade Show for their Java Tree Stand made of retired coffee wood, sandblasted and kiln-dried. I would say that A&E is on a roll. I had an opportunity to talk to the guys at A&E and you can see a video of them talking about their award-winning toys.
The Mastermind Foraging Devices by Caitec Corporations. These toys were pretty interesting and I would have loved to test them out on my Pionus parrot, Deacon. They are foraging toys. You put in a food item and the parrot has to figure out how to get it out. They are easy to clean and come in two different colors and shapes: a blue circle and a pink heart. We chatted with Caitec too, so we have a video where they demonstrate the toys.
The Percher by Caitec Corporation. Caitec got second and third place in the new bird product category. The Percher is a white, light T-stand where the T comes out of the base so you can easily turn it into a perch to carry your bird to his cage. Pretty nifty. We have a video of this one too, so check it out.
All the top-place products in all the categories were rated against each other, and it is of great interest to note that A&E’s Java Wood Bird Toys came out No. 1 overall. This is the first time a bird product won overall in as long as I can remember attending this show.
The second overall winner was the FroliCat Flik by Lucky Litter. It looks like a big white yo-yo. It is an automatic teaser that throws a string to engage cats in play. (Note: I would love to see an automatic head scratcher for birds!)
Third place overall winner was Angels’ Eyes Dog Shampoos by Angels’ Eyes.
Probably the most unusual product I saw at the show was the Meowstard by Petchup, Inc. The bottle looks like mustard and it is marketed as a nutritional condiment for dry cat food.
There were many more good new bird products, which we either included in our slideshow video and our product demos. I hope you enjoy checking out these products and be sure to let you avian retailer know which products you would like to see in the store!
Listen to me on Pet Radio Show with Robert Hudson talking about SuperZoo here:
on Blog Talk Radio