ORLANDO, FLA. — Global Pet Expo 2023, held March 22 to 24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, attracted thousands of attendees from far and wide to peruse an expansive show floor and a 45,000-square-foot New Product Section to connect and learn about the latest and greatest the industry has to offer.

Co-hosted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), this year’s event featured timely market data from several organizations, as well as industry meetings, networking opportunities and “everything else” buyers, brands and attendees could need to support the future of the industry.

According to APPA’s 2022 State of the Industry data, total pet industry sales topped $136.8 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 10.8% from 2021. The pet food and treat category led the industry at $58.1 billion in sales in 2022, representing 42.5% of total industry sales and 16.2% growth from 2021.

Consumers’ continued focus on pet nutrition was evidenced by the more than 350 brands exhibiting at Global Pet Expo 2023. And while the entire show floor was bustling with activity, a few product trends stood apart from the pack: life stage- and size-specific nutritional solutions for dogs, more (yes, more!) supplement options for pets, an explosion of freeze-dried foods and treats, and a reinforced trend toward collagen chews.


Tailored nutrition

The trend toward functional pet nutrition products continues, stoked by increasing interest in products that support mental health and physical wellbeing, as well as those that target specific pet ailments and conditions. To help pet owners take a more preventive approach to providing their pets with the nutrients best suited for health and wellness, the industry is seeing an influx of life stage- and size-specific formulations catering to kittens and puppies, as well as small- and large-breed dogs.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition showcased its new Science Diet Puppy and Kitten formulas for dogs and cats, both of which are formulated with the company’s “5 Essential Building Blocks” for growing pets: balanced minerals to support growing bones and teeth, DHA from fish oil for cognitive development, an antioxidant blend of vitamins C and E to support immune system health, high-quality protein for muscle development and energy, and a “breakthrough blend” of prebiotic fibers to support gut health.

Additionally, Wellness Pet Company is expanding its CORE Digestive Health dog food portfolio with a formula designed specifically for large-breed dogs. The recipe also promotes immune system health as well as healthy teeth, bones, skin and coat.

Petcurean GO! SOLUTIONS large breed dog foodSource: Jordan Tyler / Sosland Publishing Co. 

Petcurean introduced new recipes to its GO! SOLUTIONS® line, including GO! SOLUTIONS SKIN + COAT CARE Large Breed Puppy + Adult Salmon Recipes with Grains for Dogs. The recipe features salmon as the single-source of animal protein, targeted minerals to support strong bones, and large-sized kibble for bigger mouths.

Tiki Cat, a brand by Whitebridge Pet Brands, introduced new flavors and formats to its Tiki Cat Baby and Tiki Cat Silver lines, which are designed specifically to be high in calories to support growing kittens and aging cats, respectively. Innovations include Mousse and Shreds formats for both Tiki Cat Baby and Tiki Cat Silver, as well as Tiki Cat Silver Comfort, a high-calorie supplement for senior cats.

Speaking of senior cats, Champion Petfoods’ ORIJEN brand showcased its Guardian Senior dry cat food at the show, formulated to support immune, joint, bone, digestive, skin and coat, brain, eye and heart health, as well as muscle and weight maintenance.

Annamaet showcased its Small Breed Formula for dogs in the New Product Showcase, which offers a nutrient-dense solution for small breeds such as Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas and Jack Russel Terriers, according to the company. The diet features smaller bites for smaller mouths, marine microalgae as a source of Omega 3 fatty acids, L-carnitine to support fat metabolism, added prebiotics and probiotics to support gut health, and DHA to support brain development.

Nootie Progility supplements for small dogsSource: Nicole Kerwin / Sosland Publishing Co. 

Canidae showed off new branding for its small breed dog food line, now known as PURE Petite, in the New Product Showcase. The line includes four dry formulas for small-breed adult dogs, one wet formula for small-breed adult dogs, and one dry formula for small-breed puppies. The line also includes two protein-focused meal topper products designed specifically for smaller breeds.

Nootie highlighted its new line of Mini Progility soft chew supplements designed specifically for small- and medium-sized dogs. The initial Minis line includes three formulas — Allergy Relief, Hip & Joint, and Calming Aid, building off existing Progility formulas offered by Nootie. These new size-specific products serve as a perfect segway into another notable trend seen across the show floor: supplements.



According to Packaged Facts, which shared some of its latest pet industry data as part of the show’s Global Learning Series, 68% of dog owners and 67% of cat owners are looking for products that improve their pets’ health and wellness, whereas 66% of dog owners and 65% of cat owners are seeking products that make their pets’ lives more comfortable. Supplements are one way in which the industry is addressing these demands.

In APPA’s 2023-2024 National Pet Owners Survey, the association shared 21% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners purchased a calming supplement, chew or treat for their pet in 2022, up from 17% of dog owners and 11% of cat owners in 2020. Calming nutritional products are the second most popular choice of calming products purchased by dog and cat owners in 2022, trailing only by toys at 29% of dog owners and 27% of cat owners.

Alongside its new Large-Breed Digestive Health kibble, Wellness Pet Company also debuted its first supplement line with five key formulas: Move, Calm, Shield, Belly and Shine. All five formulas bear the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)’s Seal of Acceptance.

PetPlate introduced two new supplements to its existing line, which directly complements its line of fresh diets for dogs. The new supplements formulas include Calming, formulated with ashwagandha and L-theanine, and Skin and Coat, formulated with biotin and salmon oil.

New dog supplements from NuloSource: Jordan Tyler / Sosland Publishing Co. 

Following the launch of its dog supplement line at Global Pet Expo 2022, Nulo teased the launch of several upcoming supplement products for dogs and cats alike. The company currently offers soft chew supplements for dogs in Calming, Immune, Mobility, Omega and Probiotic options, and has now expanded the line to include Hemp & Mushroom chews to support liver and kidney health, as well as Advanced All-In-1 Chews for whole body support. The company also showcased a complementary line of soft chew supplements for cats, as well as a line of powdered supplements for cats and a range of functional crunchy cat treats offering targeted health benefits, all coming soon.

Pet supplements formulated with mushrooms are also making a splash in the pet nutrition space. Earlier this year, Pawse introduced its first non-CBD product — a mushroom-based, freeze-dried soft chew for dogs and cats called Mighty Mushrooms. The chews are formulated with USDA Certified Organic extracts from fruiting bodies of the Chaga, Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake and Turkey Tail mushroom varieties.

The functional allure of supplements is also urging some brands to create treat products with solution-based benefits. For example, Nature’s Logic launched its Biscuits with Benefits line shortly before the show, which includes three baked treat formulas targeting common health concerns in dogs — Calming Support, Skin & Coat Care, and Healthy Digestion.


Freeze-dried focus

According to NielsenIQ, freeze-dried pet food products accounted for $239.9 million in sales in 2020, up 7% from 2019. This category made up only 2.8% of the market in 2020, but because they typically carry a higher price tag compared to traditional kibble and  other emerging formats, freeze-dried is expected to continue driving sales for the pet industry. NielsenIQ also shared that online search queries for “freeze dried” dog food products grew 28% to 218,200 searches from August 2021 to July 2022.

A Better Treat kibble plus freeze-dried dog foodSource: Nicole Kerwin / Sosland Publishing Co. 

With these numbers in mind, new and established brands alike are turning their focus to freeze-dried nutrition. For example, A Better Treat made its pet industry debut at Global Pet Expo, featuring a differentiated approach to freeze-dried formulations. The company’s “Raw You Can See” slogan is represented through whole bits of protein and vegetables mixed in with a high-protein kibble. For example, the company’s Alaskan Salmon Kibbles & Raw dog food features kibble with 35% protein and visually recognizable chunks of freeze-dried salmon and broccoli, as well as air-dried carrot pieces.

Open Farm introduced a line of freeze-dried cat food formulas at the show, including four recipes: Wild-Caught Salmon & Cod, Surf & Turf, Chicken & Salmon, and Harvest Chicken. Formulas include between 92% and 98% meat, organ and bones, and can be served as a complete-and-balanced meal or as a meal mixer on top of a regular diet. Additionally, the brand highlighted its RawMix line of freeze-dried raw-coated dry dog and cat food at the show. With three recipes for dogs and two for cats, the diets combine freeze-dried raw-coated morsels with broth-coated kibble pieces and freeze-dried raw chunks of protein.

New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. showed off its portfolio at Global Pet Expo 2023, including its freeze-dried and air-dried meals and treats for dogs and cats.

Additionally, freeze-dried raw brand Vital Essentials debuted a total rebranding at the show to better showcase the brand’s protein-focused, butcher-style approach.


Coming up: Collagen

Collagen has been gaining traction in the human supplement market in recent years and, by the law of humanization, it only makes sense that this animal-based ingredient is cropping up in an increasing number of pet products, most prominently as an alternative to rawhide dog chews.

Frankly Pet is adding a new peanut butter flavor to its Beefy Puffs line. These crunchy treats are made with US-sourced beef and are formulated with high levels of collagen and protein to support skin and coat health, bones, joints and connective tissues, as well as nails and teeth. The Beefy Puffs complement Frankly Pet’s other rawhide-free collagen products — Collagen and Protein Beefy Chew Sticks — launched in May 2022.

Icelandic+ Collagen Puffs for dogsSource: Nicole Kerwin / Sosland Publishing Co. 

Icelandic+ also unveiled new puffed collagen treats for dogs. The company’s Collagen Puffs come in two recipes — Baked Beef Collagen with Dehydrated Kelp and Baked Beef Collagen with Lamb Marrow — and are formulated with just two ingredients each to help support healthy joints, skin and coat, according to the company.

PetMate showcased several new collagen products at its booth and in the New Product Section, including several shapes of protein plus collagen chews under its Wild Eats and Rustic Kitchen brands.

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