A lot has changed since the last edition of the International Pet Conference in Budapest in October 2018. Between that conference and now, a pandemic raged – a challenging period beginning in early 2020 and characterised by limits on going out, social distancing and lockdowns, but at the same time triggering an unprecedented upturn in the pet business. During the coronavirus outbreak, people across the world found comfort and company in owning a pet, resulting in an increase in the pet population on every continent. This change related not only to dogs and cats, but was also visible in the case of small animals, ornamental fish, reptiles and even cage birds in some countries. Pets acquired an even higher status in many households during the pandemic, with plenty of pet owners spoiling their companions as never before. A trend towards premium products emerged that persists even now, two years after the coronavirus emerged. Pet stores in particular have benefited from this.
A host of changes
Covid-19 has also been responsible for many other changes in the international pet sector. Online pet product retailing experienced a huge boost in growth, while the importance of digitalised processes only became clear to many players during the pandemic. The awareness of sustainability also grew sharply in the pet sector during the coronavirus crisis. From the sector’s viewpoint, one of the negative aspects of the pandemic was the disruption in supply chains, seen as an indicator of the vulnerability of a globalised economic order. Starting with shortages of raw materials, bottlenecks in the supply of wood, steel and other commodities and a continuing lack of packaging materials, a number of factors meant that production and logistics faced major challenges from the outset. These have been exacerbated by cost increases for pet food and accessories, which are now being passed on to customers to a greater or lesser extent and could result in a significant slowdown in growth rates in the pet sector after two successful years. The war in Ukraine is another event making the supply chain crisis even worse.
Rarely have so many urgent topics featured on the programme of an International Pet Conference as on this occasion. As well as the exchange of information and opinions, however, meeting face to face is high on the agenda for this gathering. If the Covid-19 pandemic moves into an endemic phase, as virologists expect, there is nothing standing in the way of a physical event on 11 and 12 October.
Food for thought served up by experts
Well-known figures in the sector from across the globe feature among the speakers. Dušan Plaček, managing director of the Czech pet store company Plaček Pet Products, has overseen the seamless expansion of the chain in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Latvia during the pandemic. He has now also launched operations in Romania. Delegates will be especially interested to listen to Polina Kosharna, co-owner and managing director of Ukrainian pet supplies company Suziria, who will surely have plenty to say regarding the fall-out from the war in Ukraine on the pet sector there, in Russia and in neighbouring countries. Hubert Wieser, regional director for the Central Europe region at Nestlé Purina, is another speaker in Bologna with extensive experience in the sector who will highlight the myriad of opportunities and challenges facing the sector now and in the future. Other high-calibre speakers and discussion participants already secured to appear at the conference include Heiko Bücker (Fressnapf), Rolf Hagen Jr (Hagen Group) and Paul van der Raad (Protix).
The International Pet Conference would not have become one of the most significant events in the international pet sector in recent years if delegates didn’t know that they would always meet leading sector players there in a relaxed atmosphere. It will be no different in Bologna. Networking will assume a high priority at this year’s International Pet Conference, too, above all against the background that the personal contact that is so important in the business world has suffered badly during the two years of the coronavirus. Spacious facilities equipped with the latest technology will ensure a safe conference experience at the International Pet Conference in Bologna even while the coronavirus continues to hold sway.
International Pet Conference on 11 and 12 October in Bologna: key details
Attendance fee: € 1 390 (€ 1 190 for registration by 10 June)
Information & registration: Imke Jürgens: Tel.: +49 211/8 87 43-35 99, firstname.lastname@example.org
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>>> Upheavals in the supply chains: where do we go from here?
>>> Routes to digitalisation in the pet sector
>>> Sustainability: the mission for the future
>>> How new players in the sector are changing the pet market
The International Pet Conference will open at 10:00 on Tuesday 11 October and end at 14:00 on Wednesday 12 October.
You can find other information, which is updated continuously, at www.pet-conference.com
An event jointly organised by PET worldwide and Management Forum