Who Let The Dogs Out? PLMA’s NEW Pet Care Pavilion

To call attention to the rising importance of pet care categories in Private Brands, the New York based trade association,  PLMA has announced that a new Pet Care Pavilion will be presented as part of its 2012 Private Label Trade Show, November 11-13, in Chicago.

With pet owners comprising two out of every three households, Americans spent $20 billion on pet foods alone last year, and an additional $12 billion on pet care and supplies. About 60% of all pet food sales and 30% of pet supplies were in a traditional supermarket, drug chain or mass merchandiser. The remaining sales are spread amongst the large pet superstores and smaller independents.

Store brands are a big part of the business, too. In the traditional channels, private label accounts for unit market shares of 12.9% in pet foods and 17.4% in pet supplies, which includes toys and accessories and products to keep pets healthy and fit.

“Turning a spotlight on the growing range of pet categories is overdue,” according to PLMA president Brian Sharoff. “With retailers of all kinds increasingly attuned to what America’s 73 million pet owners want for their cats, dogs and other animal friends – whether it’s in terms of nutrition and health, recreation, or grooming and supplies – it’s clear that the market dynamics favor solid growth in the private label pet arena.”

Pet foods and pet care are proving their value in the store brand assortments of today’s retailers, and the private label pets pavilion will showcase latest trends, nutritional formulations, and pet care products from exhibitors on the trade show floor, as well as from top retailers across the country.

In virtually all channels of trade, store brands pet foods have been expanding well beyond their basic value propositions to include premium and gourmet varieties, as well as nutritional formulations for special health and dietary needs, such as weight management, plus pet treats, pet toys and grooming products.

At the premium end of the spectrum, consumers have shown growing interest in pet products made from more natural and organic components. Developments in pet healthcare too have grown dramatically in recent years, as innovations that mirror healthcare for humans expand within the pet marketing realm.

Well known store brands in pet foods include Walmart’s extensive Ol’ Roy line, which has long ranked as the number one dog food brand in the country. In addition, Walmart recently launched Pure Balance is the retailer’s first ultra premium Private Brand dry dog food which includes no soy, wheat or corn additives, no artificial colors, no preservatives and no chicken by-products, and the Special Kitty brand for cat foods and supplies.

Safeway’s Priority Total Pet Care includes scientifically formulated products backed by experts in pet care and nutrition. Kroger’s Pet Pride brand includes foods that address individual pet health needs, from weight management, to formulations for improved skin coat, heart, eyes, bone and dental health.

Costco offers a similar range with its Kirkland Signature brand while Sam’s Club sells its pet products under the Simply Right brand. Target sells a wide range of specialty pet products under the Boots & Barkley brand. In the nation’s drug chains, shoppers can find the Pet Shoppe brand of pet foods from Walgreens offering gourmet selections for dogs and cats, and CVS offers its own Petcentral brand of pet accessories and supplies.

Among the leading pet superstores, Petco has a full line of Petco branded products, while PetSmart brands include Authority, Great Choice, Top Paw and Simply Nourish as well as separate store brand lines for small animals, fish, birds and horses.

PLMA’s 2012 show will be held at Chicago’s Rosemont Convention Center. With more than 2,100 exhibit booths from leading manufacturers of private label goods across virtually all food and non-food product categories. There are as many as 50 exhibitors emphasizing pet foods, pet care and similar products that will be featured in the new private label pets pavilion.

More than 4,500 visitors attend the PLMA trade show each year, including buyers and executives from the leading U.S. supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, convenience and specialty retailers, in addition to wholesalers, brokers, importers, exporters, and suppliers of ingredients, services, research, consulting and more.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.