PRAGUE — Sixteen business leaders representing 11 European countries gathered at the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) 2019 Annual General Meeting for its inaugural CEO Forum to discuss long-term “mega trends” and priorities shaping the industry’s future. The three key topics were sustainability, globalization and digitalization.

Andreas Steinle, executive partner of the German Future Institute, moderated the seminar.

“By 2050, it is expected that 75% of the world’s population will live in cities; pets and people could be competing for drastically reduced living space. By 2050, plastic waste could triple if usage continues at its existing rate. E-commerce is changing before our eyes, with the boundaries between online and offline blurring to create a new retail focusing on fulfilling the personalised needs of each customer,” Steinle said. “Mega trends are avalanches in slow motion – they change everything, but slowly, and the changes are long lasting.”

Four main questions were posed to the group:

  1. What if 95% of your customers and their pets lived in urban areas?
  2. What if 40% of pet food is based on alternative protein sources such as insects or lab grown meat?
  3. What if the EU passed a law that pet food production must be carbon neutral?
  4. What if 65% of pet food is bought online?

After discussing the four topics in breakout groups, the attendees agreed to have a follow-up meeting to revisit and shape a strategy for how to manage the trends going forward.

“This was a superb event and the FEDIAF Annual General Meeting provided the perfect forum for this discussion,” commented Mechthild Exner-Herforth, president of FEDIAF and VP of corporate affairs for Mars’ Europe division. “The strength of a trade organisation such as FEDIAF is providing the opportunities for industry to come together and develop strategies for these big picture issues. Working together on issues such as sustainability enables us to have a much greater impact than working as one.”

Keep up with the latest pet food trends on our Trends page.