?"We have been working with retailers across the board, from the largest to the smallest, trying to show that if you don't have the right products people will go somewhere else. Ranging is very important, as is the way you display it, because the larger the range, the more confusing it becomes. People need to be able to stand at the end of the aisle and identify what they want. The trend is for fewer brands with wider ranges rather than a lot of smaller brands with fewer ranges. One of the big growth areas has been dog treats. Bakers treats have added £4.5m to the category during the past 18 months. It's about the relationship between owners and pets - someone who's very close to their pet will spoil it more than someone just looking after it for their kids. Single people generally feel very close to their pets."
Andrew Harding Customer development director, Nestlé Purina
?"Wet petfood is around 70% water so it is very profitable. However, across the whole of Europe wet food is in decline. The way trends are going here, dry food could be the way forward. There are no unpleasant aromas with dry, it doesn't go off, it is cleaner to prepare and there are opportunities to include nutritional ingredients."
Allan Huddart Sales manager, Affinity Petcare
? The pet aisle is still the main area for wild bird food. However, many customers without pets would also buy wild bird food on impulse if it were positioned in shopping aisles they visited. This understanding has profited several leading national retailers that have opted for seasonal promotion on aisle ends in January and February. The focus in grocery in 2007 will be based around revitalisation of current ranges and the improvement in merchandising. Particular attention appears to be on the rationalisation of suppliers in order to reduce duplication; brand blocking; and providing more high value products within the area. There will also be further development of siting products within gardening and non-food aisles.
Sam Marriage Marketing manager, Cranswick Pet Products
?"We have had a great year, growing nearly 60% in volume. We did a TV campaign in the north and across the central belt, our first in 20 years. We're improving the product and packaging. As a small supplier we have been well looked after and, as we have grown, retailers have supported us and stuck with us. We have listings in many of the major multiples and are working hard on the independent sector."
Tom Page Sales and marketing director, Wagg