June 16, 2016



Interzoo 2016 has concluded in Nuremberg…and it’s one for the record books. Drawing 39,000 visitors (up 5% over 2014’s show) from more than 90 countries and 1,818 exhibitors (up 7%) from 61 countries, this international pet trade show was the largest ever of its kind. And it was a highly successful show for AFB International, too, with an open and welcoming exhibit space and an innovative new tool supporting substantive conversations with customers.

As marketing coordinator for AFB, it was exciting to see so many customers from around the world in our booth talking with our global AFB representatives using the interactive table we debuted at the show. Using a large touch-screen monitor, customers could choose one of three trend categories, then select a specific trend to look at the driving forces behind that trend and AFB palatability solutions to support them.

Here is a look at our three categories—pet food market globalization, pet diets and humanization of pets—and some of the trends within those categories we found to be most on the minds of customers.


The pet food market is increasingly a global one—creating both opportunities and challenges for pet food manufacturers.


  • Globally consistent, easy-export products. The top trend in this category is the need to ensure consistency in pet foods manufactured in different facilities around the globe when export regulations vary. AFB supports global consistency with vegetarian-consistent palatability solutions that conform to export regulations worldwide.
  • Worldwide partners with regional expertise. As pet food manufacturers strive to be innovative and competitive in markets worldwide, they are seeking to collaborate with partners who are global, as well as understand regional markets. AFB meets that need with its global footprint and deep understanding of how to ensure consistent palatability performance around the world, regardless of where palatants or foods are sourced and produced.



Increasingly, humans see their pets as one of the family. Products that keep aging pets healthy, foods and treats appealing to both pet and pet parent and an increasing expectation of transparency about ingredients join the following top trends in this category.

  • Pet treats. Though still representing a small segment in the overall pet food industry, pet treats is the fastest growing segment—reflecting pet parents’ use of treats to show affection to their pets. AFB has developed special concentrated palatants with improved taste pets love, as well as topical applications designed to both enhance palatability and give the treats a shiny glaze often appealing to pet parents.
  • Organic. This trend continues to mature in tandem with human interest in organics. Though definitions and regulations related to organics may vary, those seeking “organic” pet foods tend to cite a desire for healthier, often non-GMO foods free from pesticides and hormones, ideally sustainably produced. AFB partners with manufacturers of such foods to provide palatants that support these claims.
  • Small pets. Globally, particularly in mature and urban markets, we see a trend toward smaller pets—particularly cats and small dogs. However, AFB research has shown even small dogs tend to like larger kibble—an insight that can help pet food manufacturers own this market.


Influenced by the mega-trend of pet humanization noted above, many new pet diet formulations are designed to meet a wide range of needs and interests.

  • Fresh meat and meat proteins. This was perhaps the hottest topic of Interzoo 2016. Increasingly pet parents are looking for foods with high meat inclusion, whether raw, wet or dry. However, high meat content creates palatability concerns. At AFB, we have created an internal flavoring using carefully sourced raw materials that interact with proteins before the extrusion process, resulting in a powerful palatability solution.
  • Mono proteins. Because of allergic reactions in pets, pet parents are seeking foods that exclude the problem ingredient and manufacturers are responding with limited-ingredient foods. Joining grain-free, soy-free and other well-established examples are foods with a single protein source—for example lamb, fish, duck or vegetarian. One option is our hypo-allergenic palatant, which aligns with these single-protein products.
  • Formulation variety in phosphorus balance. Worldwide super premium nutritional needs restrict the amount of phosphorus in pet food. AFB addresses this need by creating palatants with lower phosphorus content, allowing the manufacturer more flexibility for use of other standard animal protein ingredients.


These are just a few of the trends AFB is actively addressing in our research, palatability solutions and consultative work with customers. For more information, contact me or your local AFB representative.


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