SuperZoo 2015 is almost here…… Are you ready?

SuperZoo continues to grow. There are 971 exhibitors at SuperZoo 2015 – 60 more than last year. The show is also “open” for 22 hours – 3 more than last year!

Now the bad news. “Do the Math!” If you don’t stop to chat with anyone in the aisles or for food, a drink or to go to the bathroom, don’t attend any classes, don’t visit the New Products Showcase…and allow no time for walking, you can spend about 1 minute and 20 seconds with each exhibitor…down 10 seconds from last year :-). You definitely need a plan…!

Although SuperZoo has a high percentage of retail pet attendees, it still presents the “whole Pet Industry Package”…New Product Showcase, educational seminars, informative speakers and 400 exhibitors who didn’t showcase their products at GPE 2015. As such, it draws attendees from all retail channels and from around the world.

Together GPE and SuperZoo pack quite a one-two punch and you “must do both” if you’re serious about your U.S. Pet Business.

Pet Food and Supplies represent over 2/3 of the U.S. Pet Industry and every business can improve in terms of products. However, here’s where the abundance of exhibitors creates a problem. You just don’t have the time. You need to be able to target your visits. If you are a retailer, what sections of your store are not doing as well as you hoped and need a “facelift” or conversely, what areas are growing and need products to fill additional space? Category managers are only interested in visiting exhibitors relevant to their “categories”. Representatives also may be looking for new manufacturers…in specific product categories. Manufacturers could be looking to find distributors to handle their products or just looking to “check out” the competition. In regard to products, there is always something!

Much of the rest of this post will be redundant to some of my readers but for the benefit of the new people…

This problem of targeting the search for specific product categories has grown radically with the industry. About a year ago, I decided to try to do something to help.

I designed a tool in Excel, the Super Search SuperZoo 2014 Visit Planner to make “working the show” easier and more productive for ALL attendees – retailers, distributors, reps, groomers, vets…even exhibitors.

This was well received by its users, so I updated and improved the tool for this year’s GPE. I also learned a valuable lesson…never assume. I visited over 1000 exhibitor websites to confirm the product categories available from each…initially for GPE 2015, but again for SuperZoo 2015. If an exhibitor didn’t have an active site I did a separate internet search. For SuperZoo 2015, I was able to validate the product offerings for all but 3 exhibitors.

Is it 100% accurate – no, but it’s pretty darn close.

The SuperZoo 2015 Super Search can help you target your product search:

  • From the simplest…”just give me a list that I can look at on my phone or tablet quickly in either Booth # order or alphabetically”
  • To the most complex…”can do a simultaneous search for multiple specific product categories…then allowing you to personally narrow down the initial results and see the “final” alphabetically or in booth number order”.

The Super Search does both…and more…and does it quickly!

There is a download link below for the Super Search tool as well as one for the instructions. Yes, there are specific instructions for Super Search. I recommend that you read them and print them out for reference during your initial search. They are 4 pages long. Remember, instructions are by necessity long, even when the actions are pretty simple. If you used the search tool for GPE 2015, there is no change!

There is one last thing which could affect some of your searches. In the past, three companies – Central Garden and Pet, United Pet Group and PetSafe were each listed as exhibitors under their corporate “banner”. At SuperZoo 2015, they have each listed their individual subsidiaries/brands like TFH/Nylabone, Four Paws, Dingo, etc. separately, as exhibitors. Nothing has changed regarding the way they exhibit. They still occupy 3 “big” booths. This strategy may reflect the idea that retailers are more familiar with their “brands” than the overall “corporate” entity. Central and PetSafe still have their corporate names listed. However, United Pet Group does not.

I hope that the SuperZoo 2015 Super Search helps you have an enjoyable and productive show. “Plan your work. Work your plan”….See you in Vegas!

REMEMBER – When you download the Super Search tool, you must “enable macros” for it to work.

Download the files and get “planning” right now!


[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Download Instructions (PDF)[/button]

(To save the PDF to your computer Right Click the download link and select “Save Link As…”)


[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”no”] Download SuperSearch (Excel)[/button]

Petflation April Update: Food & Supplies Prices Falling – Driving Total Pet Prices Down

In April, Pet Food and Supplies prices got back on the roller coaster, falling sharply from March. Like the situation in January, despite rising prices in Veterinary and Service segments, the April drop in Food and Supplies segments was enough to pull the Total Pet Prices down for the month and the year to date. Food was the big “driver” giving back all and more of the ground that it had regained in March.

Veterinary continues its usual pattern of strong inflation early in the year (0.5% per month). Services are also on a relatively normal track with a low inflation rate over the first 3 months, then turning sharply upward in the April. If the usual pattern continues, both segments should see continued increases through the Spring, flattening out in the Summer months – starting in July.

Remember, last December Food & Supplies had a price increase rather than the “drop” which had become the norm in recent years. The “drop” occurred in January so December 2014 was a little higher than we would have expected.

Here’s what has happened in each segment since then.



Veterinary Services

  • January – Up ↑0.69%; February – Up ↑0.49%; March – Up ↑ 0.39%; April- Up↑0.40%
  • Year To Date: Up ↑1.99%

NonVet Services

  • January – Up ↑0.30%; February – Up ↑0.35%; March – Down ↓ -0.06%; April- Up↑0.42%
  • Year To Date: Up ↑1.01%

Pet Food

  • January – Down ↓-1.14%; February – Down↓-0.06%; March- Up↑0.55%; AprilDown↓-0.65%
  • Year To Date: Down ↓-1.31%

Pets & Pet Supplies

  • January- Down ↓-0.60%; February – Down ↓-0.15%; March- Up ↑0.08%; April- Down↓-0.42%
  • Year To Date: Down ↓-1.09%

Total Pet

  • January- Down↓-0.27%; February- Up ↑0.17%; March- Up↑ 0.26%; April- Down↓ -0.27%
  • Year To Date: Down ↓-0.12%


  • In 2014 February had an increase followed by a drop in March. In 2015 the increase and subsequent drop occurred a month later – in March and April.
  • Food – April drop was significant…so is down 1.31% for the year to date.
  • Supplies – prices continue to slowly fall.
  • Veterinary prices continue their normal winter/spring increase.
  • The NonVet Service segment continues to increase in price but at about half the rate of Veterinary.
  • The Total Pet Market Prices rose in March due largely to increases in Food and Veterinary Services – the same “drivers” as in the February 2014 increase.

Let’s take a look at the monthly history over the last 18 months to get a better feel for the “rollercoaster” ride in Food and Supplies.  April of 2015 and April of 2014 are outlined so you can see where we were at this time last year.



As we have noted, March was the pricing “low point” for the total industry in 2014. We are about 0.7% above that level this April. All segments but Food are above the pricing of a year ago. Even Supplies are up, primarily due to the residual effect of 4 months of continual increases from September through December. The big question is what will happen with food – the largest segment?


Veterinary Services – Once again the price increase from December to April this year actually exceeded last year – up 2.06% in just 4 months. In our consumer expenditure analysis we saw that veterinary spending increased significantly – for the highest incomes. However, it dropped $1B for the <$50K group. Obviously, there is a cost associated with strong inflation beyond just price.

NonVet Services – The price increases in this segment have been regular but more moderate than the Veterinary segment. It appeared that this had not affected consumer purchases. However, the recent Consumer Expenditure survey indicated an overall flattening in spending on Services. Flat spending in conjunction with increased prices indicates a reduction in the amount of services purchased.

Pets and Pet Supplies – Prices are actually 0.5% above April a year ago. However, they are still 3.8% below what they were in April 2009 – 6 years ago. The deflation in this segment is a slow, ongoing and painful issue, with no easy fix. I know that you are all tired of hearing me “preach” about this. However, long term deflation is a serious issue and in many ways harder to handle than inflation. When popular categories become commoditized, price competition drives down prices and ultimately drives out some manufacturers. The only real cure is to innovate – make it better – that’s how you can get today’s value conscious consumer to spend more.

Pet Food – This largest segment is becoming a serious concern. January saw the largest price drop in 17 years. March brought a strong uptick in prices. Then another big drop in April took away the ground regained in March…and more. The Consumer Expenditure survey indicated recent Pet Food Spending is down about $80M. With the deflating prices, the actual amount of food purchased remains at 99.9% of the previous measuring period. It’s a complex story. The >$120K households are spending more on Food. Everyone else is looking for a value and spending less.

Total Pet Market – It’s a “bipolar” situation. Veterinary and Service segments keep going up. Supplies and especially food are trending down. History says all segments should have increasing prices through June. Then Total Services flatten out and Food & Supplies drop in the summer, dragging the Total Market down. We’ll see…We seem to be on track for an overall CPI increase of about 0.66% for 2015.

Here’s a chart that compares our April numbers to recent history


The Food & Supplies segments are still on a pricing Roller Coaster ride. We’ll keep you up to date!