September 11, 2023

SuperZoo Takeaways in Rawhide Alternatives

Maintaining pet parents’ peace of mind while their pets are chewing has remained top priority for rawhide alternative manufacturers. SuperZoo provided these leading companies the opportunity to showcase their latest easily digestible and safe products, which satisfy pets’ natural instincts to chew.

“For Earth Animal, SuperZoo was an opportunity for us to show retailers the innovation we’ve been working on for both food and chews,” said Brett Zingle with Earth Animal. “Our Wisdom Air-Dried has officially launched, and the innovation that we’ve built into both the product as well as the sustainable sourcing was an exciting message for us to deliver. Within No-Hides, our Strips line has also officially launched, allowing us to deliver the same high quality and simple ingredients in a unique way for customers to bring more enjoyment to dogs!”

Jones Natural Chews was exceptionally pleased with the attendance levels at this year’s SuperZoo. 

“The attendance was amazing – it is wonderful to have so many industry professionals all gathered together,” said President Laura Jones. “It was exciting to view the new products and see where the industry is headed next.”

The TDDBS team shared a similar experience and mentioned the show’s success.

“SuperZoo 2023 was a fantastic show,” said Matt Ferch, Director of Marketing for TDDBS which manufactures Barkworthies. “It is always exciting and inspiring to see the industry come together and share the latest innovation. There’s never been a better time to be a dog or a cat, with such a tremendous array of quality products out there.”

Reflecting on their preparation for the show, “this year was again another success for Earth Animal at SuperZoo,” Zingle said. “We spent a lot of time ensuring our booth design and messaging, product presentation, and team support was where our products and innovation needed it to be. It might seem counterintuitive for a manufacturer, but Earth Animal steers clear of trends.” 

Instead, “We continue to focus on innovation and unique value propositions for our customers in this category,” Zingle said. “In many ways for us, our goal is to avoid the trends. We remain focused on delivering the original rawhide alternative in unique and differentiated ways, and the reception at SuperZoo to our Strips as well as our new flavor collections was extremely strong and encouraging to hear that we’re continuing to innovate in the ways customers are hoping for.”

The Jones Natural Chews team took notice of sustainability’s lasting presence and how this trend may evolve into a lasting expectation. 

“Sustainability remains a buzzy topic,” Jones said. “The standout observation we made was that the humanization of pets is not slowing down. Pet parents have so many options of keeping their pets safe and healthy and integrating them into their home life.”

Products that address symptoms and issues to alleviate common conditions caught the Redbarn Pet Products team’s attention.

“We noticed a continuing focus on solutions and functional ingredients in pet food and treats,” Kelly Walters, Brand Leader – Pet Foods. “As pet parents look to fully support their pets’ health, products continue to surface that target the needs that are important to them – digestive health, immune support, skin and coat health, calming, and so many more. The alternative feeding category also continues to grow, with more and more products, brands and companies pushing into this space. As pet parents continue to look for different ways to feed their pets, or different ways to add variety at mealtime, we’ll continue to see expansion in the options manufacturers offer to help support these needs.”

After spending time in Jones Natural Chews’s booth, Jones said she would think it wise for retailers to keep the momentum moving forward. 

“We really love hearing about all the amazing different ways that store owners display our products,” Jones said. “So many creative stores start seeing newer items and they instantly begin discussing where they could fit in a particular display. The show serves as visual inspiration, so I would also think that retailers would want to start taking action on revamping their merchandising plans.”

“The most important focus we’d like retailers to take away from our booth is our commitment to quality, safe, premium dog food and treats, as well as the independent pet store community,” Walters with Redbarn said. “We continue to bring innovation to the marketplace that helps drive sales in the independent channel and really solves the problems pet parents are facing. With SuperZoo 2023, we launched Redbarn Air Dried Gut Health recipes, a line of premium Air Dried dog food that’s targeted to support dogs’ microbiome health. With a proprietary postbiotic inclusion, this product can deliver improved gut health in dogs – which has a host of benefits for the overall health of the pet. At Redbarn, our focus remains on the independent pet channel, serving the retailers we’ve been partnered with for more than 25 years, and providing innovative, safe, efficacious products for pets and their pet parents.”

“Barkworthies Smoked is something pet specialty retailers should be looking at,” Ferch said of what retailers should have gleaned after their booth visit. “Whereas most ‘smoked’ treats, chews get there through the addition of an artificial flavor, our new line of Smoked chews is naturally smoked, low and slow, in small batches, in a real smokehouse, in Richmond, VA, using real hickory wood. Nothing artificial. It’s a remarkable line of natural chews with unsurpassed aroma and flavor.”

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