Pet food sales have been rising steadily, which has correspondingly led to an increase in differently packaged products. Photograph: snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com, pexels.com
Packaging for Puss and Fido
Pet food manufacturers are facing new challenges: If humans love it, then their pets are expected to like it, too. And so demands on the food sector are now affecting pet owners. Whether it’s dry or wet food, the ingredients need to be healthy, preferably with an organic seal and specially tailored to various needs, for instance, food intolerances. And the outer appearance, too, plays its part, so that pet owners are making considerable demands on the packaging. They want to see printed nutritional particulars, handy reclosure, sustainable materials – preferably in a design that is appealing and of a high quality. Companies in the packaging industry have accepted this challenge and are blessing Puss and Fido with innovative packaging on the shelves of today’s supermarkets.
Germany saw a steady rise in pet food sales between 2006 and 2016. Within no more than a decade this increase was over EUR 450 million for cats, reaching EUR 16 billion, while dogs came second last year, with roughly the same increase at around EUR 1.3 billion. Pet owners in the United States are even keener, with experts expecting to see an overall sales increase of $2.5 billion in the pet sector next year.
More and more pet food products are sold in plastic bags. Photograph: Steven Damron @ flickr.com.
Plastic bags are rising in popularity
Plastics manufacturers can be pleased about the results of a study conducted by the international market research firm Freedonia: the kind of pet food packaging material that benefits most from these new customer demands is light and robust. According to Freedonia’s analysis, we can expect to see a steep increase in plastic bags which should reach a total sales volume of $540 million in 2018 for pet food alone. The experts believe that this growing popularity is due to the light weight of the bags, which leads to lower transport costs and ultimately also better sales prices. Another reason why plastic bags rank so highly on people’s wish lists is their practical benefits, as they are made from tear-proof material and have simple, secure closures. Moreover, says the forecast, unless a person wants to see a certain rigidity in a package, they will also buy wet food in plastic bags. Here, too, customers are persuaded by the handy closure of a package, as there is no leakage and the danger of injury when opening the package is virtually zero. Yet when it comes to dry food, the packaging material that is ahead of all others – at 49 per cent of use – is still multilayered woven paper. Here too, however, high-quality plastic is on the rise as a result of increasingly digitised printing methods. And finally, of course, the material also benefits from a growing market of deep-frozen pet food.
There is a clear trend among pet owners to be specially concerned about the well-being of their darlings – particularly in matters of food quality. Where content is concerned, the emphasis is on:
healthy and nutritious
a range of different flavours
as odour-free as possible
As for the packaging, customers prefer products which ...
are easy of use,
have a long life,
can safely be resealed,
show a printed list of ingredients,
are of a high quality in their design.
Stone-age food? The trend in paleo products has now also impacted the pet food industry, and this is of course influencing the packaging. Photograph: Paleo Pet Goods
As if this wasn’t enough, almost the entire industrial sector is gaining in attractiveness, resulting in growing competition among companies, so that it becomes important to attract the customer’s attention at the POS. A large number of innovative developments have created diversity on the market.
Fancy a 360° presentation? Using sides that face one another at right angles, appropriate plastic packages can have suitable views from all six angles, with the brand, promotional information and product details printed on them. Regardless of how a previous customer placed the bag back on the shelf, the next potential customer can see straight away what it’s all about.
Innovative packaging solutions for man’s best friend:
Safe, handy closure options that prevent injuries, leakage and odour formation
Packages with nitrogen to ensure a longer shelf life
Logos for immediate classification: a cute kitten or a trusted old dog
Packaging with viewing windows
Stand-up pouches which are suitable for microwaves and free from BPA