So the P3 show was recently here in Chicago, and I missed it.

I know! I’m bummed, too. And after all my chatter about how much I love (or tolerate) my pets. Alas, other obligations called my name. But at least I got to experience the show vicariously through my RangeMe colleagues, and was excited to learn about some of the really fanciful and innovative new products that are hitting the shelves. And as I was reading about some of these products, a thought struck me:

Isn’t it funny how trends in pet products so strongly mirror the trends we’re seeing in people products?

Think about it:

  1. Origin of Food. Pet owners want to know where their pets’ food comes from, and the ‘Made in the USA’ label is hot, hot, hot right now. On the human end of the scale, one look around your local grocery store and you’ll see signage left and right about where your haricots verts hail from, or where your peaches were picked. In packaged goods, the cleaner and clearer the label, the better, in consumers’ eyes, no matter if that food is for themselves or for Fido.
  2. Products with Benefits. You can’t walk the health and beauty aisle these days without encountering a product that proposes some sort of promise to help you live a healthier life. Whether it’s a shampoo that can help strengthen your hair with natural ingredients, or a batch of vitamin-packed caramels, consumers want their products these days to do double-duty—not only should they taste good or work well, those products also need to enhance their lives in some way. And the same goes for pets. The treats you give your pet of course are super-exciting and tasty (for them), but consumers also a plucking the ones off the shelf that help clean their cats’ teeth, or perhaps have added doses of chondroitin and glucosamine to help keep pets’ joints supple as they age.
  3. Indulgence. Show me a dog who doesn’t enjoy a cool, creamy pupsicle on a hot summer day, and….well, I don’t know any dogs who wouldn’t love such a luxury. And while the pup is devouring such a treat, surely her human can’t be left out of the fun—as proven, for example, by the uptick in love for ice cream sandwiches this year. A little indulgence goes a long way with consumers, whether they’re indulging themselves or their pets.

These are just a few of the trends that cross the human/pet divide. But suppliers, if you’re noodling on your next product launch or extension and can’t seem to land on something that really strikes your fancy, look to our four-legged friends for inspiration. Sure, they may think chasing a red dot around the room or barking at the UPS guy is the height of fun, but they’re a lot more like us than you might otherwise think. If nothing else, they want the best for their humans, and we want the best for them.

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