A record 166,513 people visited Crufts last week and amongst them were the Pet Trade Xtra team in search of great ideas and products for pet retailing.
James Skinner from The Kennel Club said "it’s our third successive year of breaking the record."
Barking Heads were sampling new customers and driving them to independent retailers for follow on purchases. Andy Smith, Marketing Director, told Pet Trade Xtra: “We want to get our product into people's hands. We are super confident that this is a great product. It's very high meat content. It's all natural ingredients. We find that once people try it they come back and stay loyal to the brand because of the quality of the product.
"Our objective is about getting some products in people's hands and letting the product speak for itself. We're giving away a 300 gram sample of either Bowl Lickin' Chicken or Pooched Salmon to of our main flavours. We're giving away £3 off any bag of Barking Heads dry food in independent retailers who stock us.”
On the Dickie Bags stand we found a solution to a problem many active dog owners have - What to do with the poo bag when there's not a bin in sight? Their bags made of wet suit neoprene look to be a great solution, even for Cani-cross runners. Mandy Davies explained: “It's made from neoprene rubber that is four millimetres thick, which is thicker than most wetsuits. So this is how tough in quality they are. They're really good quality genuine neoprene that's got rubber in it. They're made like wetsuits. They're glued and blind stitched so there are no perforations, which means all the seals are airtight and watertight. So what you do in the lid is a soft pocket to hold empty poo bags.
"When you pick up you drop the filled poo-bag straight back into the bottom of the Dickie Bag where an air freshener controls any smells. Then it is sealed in creating a rubber seal that's an airtight bag. It's soft it's lightweight. It isn't therefore then a hindrance to you when you're wearing it or use it. Now you can put it on any sort of lead or harness so a dog can even wear this. You keep it to the D ring the bell pro one wrap which we have it goes on the belt loop. Wrap it around the side of the harness. That sits on the dog. Or alternatively it goes on your lead it clips onto the handle the Velcro wraps around it. It doesn't swing about and be annoying if you've got an extendable lead you wrap it under the handle. It's completely washable. It's tough it's robust.”
Mandy and her husband Barry came up with the product as a result of frustration and need. "Frustration at people picking up dog waste put it in a bag and then hanging it or dumping it or chucking it like it was somehow magically going to disappear. And it was no longer their problem and need for the fact that I had children I had two dogs I had balls and then I had this bag. And then the rest of my life stopped. I couldn't play with the kids. I couldn't throw the ball. I couldn't train the dogs because I had. The bag.”
Dickie Bags are looking for specialist pet retailers and garden centres who have a big dog walking customer base to sell their products, which are supported and promoted by National Parks. During Crufts 2019, Mandy had several trade customers visit the stand and at least one midlands garden centres placed an order for stock.
Natures Menu featured poo bags on their stand too, but they were using a huge poo-bag to encourage dog owners to sign up to a free trail of Natures Menu raw food to prove the point that raw feeding products smaller poos. Over 5,000 people had signed up by the end of Crufts.
We report on future pet technology developments such as PupPod elsewhere in this issue of Pet Trade Xtra but the only fully interactive technology pet product we found at Crufts 2019 was Felcana, a 'fit-bit' type of collar worn tracker that started up 2 years ago. Oliver a student vet, working with Felcana at Crufts told us: “The idea is to integrate vets, pets and technology to provide a platform by which you can gather lots of data and that both helps the owners in terms of calories and walking things and helps vets in terms of looking at what's going on with that pets activity and therefore what that might mean for disease and for the pets lifestyle. Helping to move forward with them in a better and more holistic way.”
A beacon development is on the way which will give owners the ability to track individual dogs activity including drinking and eating in a multiple pet environment.
Emily who handles PR, Sales and Marketing added: “We're currently ramping up the retail front at the moment but we're going both B2C B2B route because we want to get it in hands of every pet owner. We are strategically partnered with Simply Health who are the UK's largest health provider, otherwise known as Denplan.”
Waggi were selling their Pet Finder smart id tags, which store data that can be accessed remotely to aid recovery if a pet goes missing.
Elsewhere at Crufts, seven years on from her start up and rise to fame on Dragons Den, Billy + Margot founder Marie Jones, was on her bike again to launch new products: “Billy + Margot is well known for our treats, we launched our first treats in 2012 at Crufts and today we're launching our range of food which ranges from wet, dry, and also raw. So we're covering the entire spectrum of dog food.
“The Real Pet Food Company, who is our holding company also acquired Benyfit Natural recently and they are our producer for raw food.
“Something that we are quite proud of especially in the dry food which is that we do skews in single animal protein. But what we actually mean by that is we match the fats with it. So often you might see a bag saying it's only lamb, OK the protein might be the lamb but actually they then include poultry fats. In ours not only have you got 100 percent of the animal protein but you also have the matching fats. For example in our salmon you have salmon oil. In the lamb you have lamb fats. So we have 100% of the animal both the protein and the fats element.
“It's important because we are seeing more and more intolerances in dogs. We are generally seeing more and more chicken and beef or other protein intolerances. So when it comes to choosing food it becomes quite tricky for the owner because often in the back of pack what they see seeing says Lamb but then it's mixed with other things. So ours is 100 percent of one thing so they know for sure that when they think that that's all they get in the bag.”
Wag Products almost sold out of their noodle drying gloves which were really popular and Animonda Petcare, the No 2 wet food brand in Germany, distributed thousands of sample packs to the Crufts audience.
See the complete Pet Trade Xtra photo gallery from Crufts 2019 below.
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