image description

Welcome back to Zoomark – A chance to reconnect with customers

AFB International was excited to attend Zoomark, Europe’s only in-person international pet industry event in 2021. Held in Bologna, Italy November 10 -12, the conference provided a chance to interact with industry professionals from all over the world.  And for AFB, after months of separation due to the pandemic, the opportunity to see customers face-to-face was a welcome one. “Communicating via phone or video calls can never replace the satisfaction of seeing our customers in person. Relationships are how we do business. After almost two years, it was so nice to meet with customers again,” said Rik Poels, AFB Key Account Manager.

For pet food companies, it was also an opportunity to share thoughts on the current challenges facing the industry. Like human foods, the supply chain for pet food is seeing raw material shortages from ingredients to packaging materials, transportation delays and shipping issues. While it is a difficult time for many reasons, an AFB Account Manager noted “we have to consider ourselves lucky to be in this industry. Many businesses have been hit hard, but pet parents will always want to provide the best food for their pets.”

Attendees were also able to visit a new feature “Pet Vision”, a space dedicated to new products that was divided into seven market trends:

  • The continued humanization of pets with pet food inspired by human recipes and superfoods
  • A focus on hygiene and safety in the context of a shared daily life with our pets with products like sanitizers, disinfectants and equipment for home grooming
  • Technology and apps for pet parents to monitor their dog and cat’s activities and sleep, keep track of medications and vet visits or even talk to their pet remotely and see live video
  • Sustainable packaging and green solution processes like products made using clean energy
  • An emphasis on health with dietary supplements, functional foods, and raw materials and ingredients for improved well-being
  • Getting back to nature with new outdoor toys and equipment for dog sports, travel accessories, and natural and organic pet food
  • Restyled, rebranded and redesigned products and services

Pet food manufacturers are continually challenged to develop new products and formats to meet market trends and compete in this dynamic industry. Attending conferences and visiting with customers at trade shows like Zoomark helps us to understand our customers’ specific challenges and allows us to partner and collaborate on solutions. It is one way we put two of AFB’s Core Values – Customer-Driven Innovation and Customer Intimacy – into action. We look forward to visiting with many more valued customers and supplier partners at 2022 events!