The pet food industry is competitive. Evolving market conditions and consumer values are transforming the face of an increasingly diverse pet food aisle. With artisanal, local and global brands all sharing the same supermarket shelf, pet food packaging can make or break the consumer’s purchase decision. Since packaging is typically the last step in the customer’s buying journey, not only should it be functional, but eye-catching and innovative too. So, what are the best ways to differentiate yourself? Here are some common pet food packaging trends that successful brands are implementing.
Sustainability continues to be an influencer of consumer behaviour when it comes to pet care with 75% of consumers saying they would feel more favourably toward a brand that made its packaging more sustainable. Consumers are putting more emphasis on making sure that the products they buy are produced in an ethical and sustainable way. For pet food packaging, this means a rise in the use of biodegradable and recyclable materials.
The challenge for manufacturers is that sustainability often conflicts with other packaging trends. Not all environmentally-friendly packaging materials will deliver optimal quality, durability, and food safety features required by pet food manufacturers. One sustainable option that is proving most effective is recyclable plastic. Offering the same, if not better, barrier properties than traditional paper and mixed plastic pet food bags, recyclable plastic meets the preservation requirements of manufacturers and the environmental requirements of customers. As well as improving the recyclability of their packaging, successful brands are also providing clear recycling instructions, and encourage their end-users to participate in recycling programs.
As the humanisation of pets continues to spread, pet owners want their animals to eat as healthy as they do. According to statistics, more than 40% of pet owners now buy premium pet food for their cat or dog. With more and more brands launching premium pet food ranges, these products require quality packaging to protect and preserve their ingredients.
Flexible packaging is one of the most widely used formats in the pet food packaging industry. It offers high barrier properties, temperature resistance and decent durability all while being cost-efficient. High-quality pet food ingredients require good barrier properties to maintain their nutrients and health benefits. Flexible packaging films prolong the shelf life of pet food by preventing aroma, moisture, and oxygen transfer. Pouches equipped with reseal technology also help to keep premium pet food at peak freshness.
Eye-catching graphics, high-quality printing techniques and unique material finishes all indicate to consumers that they’re buying a premium product. Popular surface enhancement options such as paper feel varnish, soft finish matt, high shine gloss or spot register varnishes offer both visual and tactile experiences for consumers, providing brand owners additional opportunities to differentiate themselves in the retail environment
Resealability, product freshness and ease of use are all factors to consider when choosing pet food packaging. Now more than ever, pet owners are driving the demand for convenience in the pet food industry. In response to this, many successful pet food brands are adopting formats and features commonly used in the snack industry such as stand-up pouches, resealable zippers, and tear notches.
Reseal technology not only keeps pet food fresh, but it also resonates well with consumers looking for convenience features that make for easier feeding time. 50% of pet owners who buy premium pet food state that they are unhappy when they can’t reseal the packaging after opening. If the bag gets damaged while opening or pet owners struggle to reseal it between feedings, they risk compromising the freshness of the product. It is imperative that when developing packaging for their pet food product, brands choose reliable and convenient features such as easy open and resealability.
Although it is a driving factor when considering a purchase, convenience doesn’t just apply to the end-user. In order to ensure streamline production and distribution of their product, brands should require packaging that not only retains its functionality and consumer appeal in a demanding supply chain environment but also enables efficient manufacturing throughout the filling and shipping process.
Pet care trends may shift again as consumer attitudes and requirements change, but demand for convenience, sustainability and premium packaging is likely to shape brands’ choices in pet food packaging for years to come.
If you are a pet food brand looking for advice on your packaging, please get in touch. A member of our team would be happy to assist.
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