Michael Johnson




Finn Cady

Presentation Description:

Connecting with pet food consumers in a changing landscape — Michael Johnson, CEO, Finn Cady, analyzes shifting consumer attitudes and behaviors in today’s pet marketplace. Businesses rise and fall based on their ability to respond to consumer need and engage shopper imagination. Retailers, brands and manufacturers have exciting opportunities in this new market environment, but the strategy playbook has changed. This session looks at real-world scenarios and opportunities, while envisioning the future of pet consumer behavior and spending.


Michael Johnson, CEO of Finn Cady, is a consumer insights and trends thought-leader in the pet industry, regularly consulting retailers, veterinarians, distributors, and manufacturers on the dynamics of the pet industry and how to best develop and position their products, brands, programs and services to connect with and engage consumers. He has over 20 years‘ experience in marketing, strategic planning, and consumer and market research across the manufacturing, retail and professional services arenas.

Michael Johnson will speak on connecting with pet food consumers in a changing landscape on Thursday, September 23, at 8:50-9:30 a.m. during the general session. Register here

How would you summarize the consumer pet marketplace in 2021?

Frenetic and evolving. We love to purchase things for our pets, but pet shopping is not our favorite “activity” shopping.  Consumers have always valued speed, convenience, and ease of decision-making when buying pet products.  Online was a burgeoning behemoth BEFORE the pandemic, and has only gotten stronger since. Further, at least three pet categories are now among the top ten subscription purchase categories. What should the industry do if traffic continues to migrate online at this pace?

What do you consider the top 3 opportunities for pet food manufacturers in the next 5 years?

With consumers able to purchase anything they want – anywhere they want – any time they want, few things are as important as building a resonant consumer brand. Innovation is differentiation.  Stop doing what everyone else is doing. Know who YOUR consumers are and be the specific solution for THEM. If you are not yet DTC (direct to consumer) in some capacity, start thinking about it. Don’t rely solely on retailers to reach your customers.

How should manufacturing leadership strategize to meet future demand?

The industry has grown through increases in pet ownership, expanded distribution (across pet, food, drug, mass, club channels, etc.), and via inflationary “trade up” product development/pricing. Not every pet parent can continue to follow us up the price/quality ladder, and this is why we’re seeing so many alternative and even “value” channels now selling pet products. What is the trade-off between having a high-end pet product or having access to more pet consumers? How can you position your products for the market you have today and the market you’ll need tomorrow? They may not be the same market.

What pets rule the Johnson household?

The Johnsons are a cat household.