PETSConnect Asia 2017:
new conference links feed- and pet food sector

Visitors to VIV Asia 2017 will have the opportunity to explore an extended range of knowledge sessions on the health and nutrition of pet animals, in addition to the show’s unrivalled inspiration and information about animal protein production from feed to food.

Under a new agreement between organizers VIV worldwide and PETS International, an additional feature to take place in Bangkok on 14th March will be a special full-day conference called PETSConnect Asia 2017. VIV Asia 2017 comes to the BITEC exhibitions venue in Bangkok, Thailand, from 15 – 17 March 2017.

Building a better bridge
Ruwan Berculo and Corine van Winden are happy to elaborate on their brandnew co-operation. “By starting this conference we want to build a better bridge between animal feed manufacturers and the world of pet food,” says Corine van Winden, CEO of PETS International and the architect of the programme for the full-day meeting.

Ruwan Berculo, manager of VIV worldwide, calls the creation of PETSConnect Asia 2017 a logical extension of the exhibition’s profile. “The road-map we have for the show already includes serving the area of pet feeding and health alongside our central focus on food animals and aquaculture,” he comments. “We included a first Pet Health and Nutrition conference as a satellite event at the 2015 edition of VIV Asia which proved to be a big success. Also, from the replies to our visitor surveys at that time, we could calculate that as many as 4,000 of the people visiting VIV Asia 2015 had a specific interest in the pet animals sector.

Dedicated satellite theme
“For the 2017 edition, we have responded to the visitors’ interest by creating a combination of features, while continuing to distinguish pet health and nutrition as a separate satellite theme of VIV because it is outside our core focus of securing food supplies for the people of the world. For the show in March 2017 we had already decided that the satellite event will have a pavilion dedicated to pet health and nutrition and also a series of seminars on the subject during show time — and now we can announce a big start to the VIV Asia week by opening with the new PETSConnect Asia 2017.”

Networking conference
“Compared with other events, therefore, PETSConnect Asia 2017 is primarily a networking pet food conference that focuses on the industry’s position and future rather than on details of manufacturing techniques. Our own experience comes from publishing an international business magazine for the industry that now reaches 130 countries and is already quite strong in Asia. In addition, since 1999 we have produced the annual Global Pet Forum in Europe and in 2015 we launched the first Global Pet Forum Asia, which looks at the full pets business in the region including both foods and accessories.

Improve business opportunities
The line-up for the day sees speakers from inside and outside the pet industry offer insights into notable developments at world and Asian level, leading into a social evening where a buffet-style dinner will allow easy networking, Corine van Winden explains. “One of our main aims is to improve networking opportunities among players from the region,” she continues. “Our estimate is that there will be about 100 participants at this first conference, most likely split 60 from animal feed production and 40 from pet foods. These industries share an interest in market trends. Even more, there is a clear opportunity for producers of animal feeds in Asia to develop their business by also making dry diets for dogs and cats. PETSConnect Asia 2017 can help them to understand more about those opportunities, so it will be ideal for all animal feed makers either active in or considering an activity in pet food.

Strong sales growth
“Across much of the Asian area the business is growing fast and it is also changing. The middle classes regionally are becoming a mature market of pet owners who no longer concentrate exclusively on international brands, but are now ready to consider locally branded products of good quality. In pet food, it is predominantly a place for dry diets, but the market penetration of these products must increase. Compared with Europe, for example, the index of the use of prepared foods in Asian countries is often quite low, indicating that many pets are still being fed on table scraps. So there are various reasons for expecting the strong sales growth rate to continue.”

The location for the conference will be a hotel near to BITEC on Bangkok’s Skytrain transportation system. Pre-registration to attend PETSConnect Asia 2017 will be available through the websites of VIV worldwide and PETS International. While entry to VIV Asia 2017 is free of charge, attendance at the conference with its evening dinner costs 595 Euros.

Next editions
Even before the event takes place, plans are being made to have a series of these conferences in Europe and the Middle East. “We are so confident of the concept of PETSConnect Asia,” Ruwan Berculo reveals, “that both of the organizations co-operating to produce this conference in Bangkok have agreed to follow up after VIV Asia 2017 with the same format at the next VIV Europe and VIV MEA shows in 2018.”