Key trends and fresh ideas – our reflections on what was served up at Interzoo

The recent Interzoo exhibition in Germany saw C&D Foods welcome hundreds of delegates to our stand over the course of four days, as thousands of professionals from across the world visited the show to discover the latest innovations in the pets industry.

Food and nutrition was just one aspect of this busy exhibition, which not only enabled us to showcase our capabilities and expertise to current and potential customers, but also provided the perfect opportunity to gather insights and previews of what’s going on in our sector.

This is our round-up of what we saw, how it aligns with C&D Foods’ capabilities, and some of the more experimental approaches to surprising pets and their owners with something new!



Sustainability continues to be a huge influence on all areas of product development and commercial operations, influencing everything from recipe formulations, through to formats and packaging.

At C&D, we believe it is our duty to champion our natural environment. Our targets  are science based and we are proud to be part of the Science Based Targets initiative, an ambitious global reduction partnership. Watch out for updates on our progress via our website.

We are also in tune with the drive for a circular approach to sustainability, with the use of ‘second chance’ ingredients, such as wonky vegetables and recovered meat products for use within pet food products. In this way, we can provide the taste, nutrition and protein content that pet owners and their furry companions are looking for, while supporting our customers in reducing the carbon footprint of their products.

Second chance ingredients, along with more sustainable raw materials, such as insect proteins and plant-based foods, were clear trends at Interzoo. These are areas where we already have products in store, along with the capability to develop and produce variants that respond to both the sustainability agenda, and nutritional needs.


High protein, high quality

As high demand for premium products continues, Interzoo provided a platform to showcase what manufacturers can do to respond to this trend and boost the value of pet food lines with premium ingredients.

Increasing protein content is a good example of this; it is no longer a surprise to see products claiming  80 or 90 per cent animal protein, or the use of human-grade meat ingredients. Mono-protein varieties were also a widespread trend at Interzoo.

We also saw an emphasis on natural, locally sourced ingredients, indicating the importance of provenance as a key part of the consumer messaging for premium lines. Reduced processing was another common claim, with slow-cooked recipes also ticking a box for a premium experience for pets.


Meat-free options

While part of the premium pet food landscape involves increasing the meat content in cat and dog food recipes, there was also an increase in the number of meat-free formulations on show at Interzoo.

The fastest growing demographic for pet ownership is millennials and it is clear that their healthy living, vegetarian, and vegan choices are influencing the choices they make for their pets. We not only saw plant-based dry foods at Interzoo, but also a soya chunk wet food and cultivated protein-based foods.


Health & Beauty

From recipes developed to nurture skin, coat, renal, gastrointestinal, and dental health, through to ‘free from’, ‘low in’ and ‘GMO free’ formulations, it’s clear that food choices designed to boost our pets’ health and wellbeing are just as important to consumers as the choices that contribute to their own healthy eating habits. Formulations containing superfoods have serious consumer appeal, as pet parents continue to show their companions love by feeding them nutritious foods.

We even saw foods especially formulated for cats and dogs of specific colours, along with mood-boosting uplifting and liberating foods! And, of course, Interzoo also provided a forum for the usual tailored recipes for large and small dogs, working dogs, sporty dogs, and pets in their infancy or later life.


Treats & Toppers

Treats were more popular than ever at Interzoo, with a huge variety on display. Some of the more unusual options we spotted included power bars (the equivalent of the protein bar for human gym enthusiasts), canine crisps, and even a bake a home cookie kit for pet parents to make ‘home-made’ treats for their canine companions!

Pet food toppers were also in evidence, with palatability boosters including a pet-friendly cream-in-a-can product.


We know that convenience is important for busy pet owners, and single-serve formats continue to be popular, as we already knew from the popularity of our own 85g can line and single-serve pouches.

At Interzoo, we saw how the need for convenience is influencing new formats, with hydrate-at-home formulas in the style of soups and also Kibble options.



The common denominator across so many of these trends is humanisation – a trend that seems to be growing year-on-year, not only in the premium pet food segment but across all tiers. Labelling such as ‘air dried’, ‘cold-pressed’ and ‘sous-vide’ appeals to foodie pet parents who want to give their pet a restaurant-like eating experience at home, with some products resembling a ready-meal format for the human to prepare and cook at home, just as they might for their human family members. Indeed, we even saw a recipe box format, with meals prepped ready for the pet parent to prepare at home on each day of the week!


Inspiration and achievement

The busyness of our stand and the variety of our products that already answer key market trends meant that Interzoo was a whirlwind of meetings and positive conversations. It was also a time to reflect on how much our focus on consistent research, excellence, and customer satisfaction has put C&D at the forefront of the pet food sector across Europe.

It was a time to be inspired too. Not all of the new ideas we saw would be right for C&D Foods, our customers, or their consumers, but they illustrate that fresh thinking and innovation are alive and well in the pet food industry. Being part of a dynamic sector is inspirational for our colleagues across Europe, and we have returned to our various markets enthused about where it will go from here.