Petfood forum

Petfood Forum: A first timer’s perspective

How knowing your audience makes the most of the problem/solution trade show experience

I just returned from my first trip to Petfood Forum in Kansas City and I thought it was a great show for many reasons including the vast array of exhibitors, thoughtful panel sessions, presentations, and solid networking opportunities.  And everything supported the main goal: shared learning of the pet food industry, its trends and the marketplace as a whole.

I’ve been to more trade shows than I care to count, some good… some not so good.  One of the key measures of success for me as an attendee is how well the exhibitors put themselves in my shoes and focus on problem/solution.  I bring this up because often at trade shows we find ourselves bombarded by booths that are more focused on gadgets and widgets than providing the visitor with the real value proposition for their product or service.

At this show, most exhibitors, panelists and presenters did an excellent job of bringing thoughtful and creative solutions to current issues, such as clean label pet foods.  Others brought interesting ideas to future growth with new technology in food processing and packaging. And useful marketing discussion such as sessions on premiumization to purchases at brick and mortar versus online.

Whether the primary focus was on grain for ingredients, livestock feed or pet food… there was an abundance of ideas, solutions and learning.  And the conversations we had around the needs, wants and attitudes of the various target segments enlightened and validated much of our marketing focus in these categories. Similarly, we are seeing these conversations and opinions reflected in our Pet Panel series.

And, while there were definitely fun and engaging booths, there were much fewer of the “clown car” antics that we often see at so many other shows.  The booths were informative and most offered very clearly defined problem/solution values, such as various pet food fiber sources and the pros and cons of each And that, in my opinion, is what makes a very worthwhile trade show experience.

The key takeaway for me is that as we study the trends and outlook of the pet food category, it is with absolute certainty that the quality of ingredients and efficiencies in food processing are going to play a critical role in a brand’s success.


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For information on how our agency may help you reach your marketing goals, please contact Gino Tomaro, Business Development Director, or download our R+K Pet Care Credentials.