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Conference To Focus On Pet Industry Growth Trends

Pet Industry Advisory LLC plans to hold its Pet Industry Transformation conference in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Pet Industry Advisory LLC, a conference organizer in Waltham, Mass., plans to hold its Pet Industry Transformation conference Feb. 11-12 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Designed for senior executives at manufacturers, and marketing companies interested in the pet market, the conference will feature 20 speakers covering eight growth strategies and trends in what organizers are terming a “strategic high-level summit.”

“From our vast experience in other industries, we’ve come to know that these executive summits foster high level information exchanges not available anywhere else,” said Roz Applebaum, vice president of new product development at Pet Industry Advisory (PIA).

Applebaum expects the conference to attract between 50 and 75 industry executives from specialty, food and over-the-counter pharmaceutical/supplement companies. She expects that roughly 10 percent of attendees will represent companies planning to enter the pet industry.

The conference had nine registrants before Thanksgiving, with relatively little outreach, she said.

The conference’s goal is to provide information on market trends to senior executives and to provide opportunities for networking. Applebaum expects to hold additional conferences, perhaps one as soon as June. PIA also expects to provide senior executives information through its website and webinars.

Both she and PIA CEO Dharshan Wanasundera hail from the Institute for International Research, a conference organizer that puts on about 200 events per year in various business sectors. Wanasundera also served as CEO of World Research Group, another conference organizer, for 12 years.

Applebaum left IIR, where she had launched a conference division focusing on the finance and healthcare sectors, about eight years ago after IIR’s acquisition by Informa Inc. She’s operated a dog-walking business since then, but said she contacted Wanasundera after realizing she wanted more intellectual stimulation.

They opted to focus on the pet care industry because of her personal interest in the sector and because they felt there was a lack of events targeting the broad spectrum of manufacturers in the industry.

Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, will present an overview keynote address to kick off the conference.

“These growth trends are changing the face of the industry,” Vetere said. “We know the industry is a $43 billion-plus market, but there is a lot of competition for each piece of the pie. Focusing on and understanding your niche in the marketplace separates the winners from the also-rans.”

Conference speakers will explore trends in eight growth areas, including food, OTC medicines, the veterinary channel, retail channels, the Internet and social media, the humanization of pet products, new and emerging health and wellness markets and importing and exporting.

Speakers include Darlene Frudakis of Pet-Ag Inc., Craig Bundrant of Spitfire Global Inc., Bob Fountain of Fountain Agricounsel LLC, Paul Cooke of Nestle Purina PetCare Co., Scott Fitzhugh of OurPet’s Co., Shawn Dooley of Absorption Corp., Vicki Lynne Morgan of Animal Brands, Heidi Ganahl of Camp Bow Wow and Andrew Messinger of Vitakraft Sunseed.

Two optional workshops ($200 each) will focus more deeply on two more regulatory-intense areas. Phil Cooper, president of PINC (Pet Incorporated LLC), will lead a workshop on importing and exporting pet products; Martin Glinsky, Ph.D., president of Sedona Pet Products and executive vice president of Chenango Valley Pet Foods, will lead a workshop on the changing role of pet food and nutritional supplements.

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