Food Packaging Solutions for your Pet — and You

by Kimberly Young

Food packaging for our pets has grown to mimic many of the rules, regulations, and trends that we see with the products that we purchase for humans.  It’s an interesting conversation for brand owners to consider as you look at your products and how consumers’ wants and needs for their pets mirror what they ultimately choose for themselves.  Let’s look at the important trends to consider for pet packaging and see how they compare to our desires as consumers.

Transparency + Healthier Options

New Year, New You…and Fido 😉.  Just like humans, there are many benefits to feeding your dog fresh food — better skin and coats, or healthier body weight. All of which can be linked to a 20% longer lifespan, meaning Fido can live fur-ever!  With this trend gaining traction, we’ve seen an increase in pet food and treat offerings that put nutritional value to the same level as humans.  The days of every dog eating that same dry round kibble are long gone.   Let’s be real, can you imagine eating the SAME thing every.single.day?   Healthy pet foods mean real ingredients – fresh vegetables and proteins — that you can see in your pet’s bowl.  The perfect solution for transparent packaging is clear materials Often we see the fresh dog/cat foods packaged in a one-time use clear flow wrap, showcasing the fresh proteins and vegetables ready for Fido.  The same can be accomplished with a stand-up pouch.  The whole package could be clear, or even knocking out a clear window to showcase the product inside is another way to convey transparency to your customers.

Convenience + Freshness

Another factor that is a priority to us and our pet’s food packaging is convenience and freshness.   Many pet owners buy large 50lb bags of food to ultimately cut open and pour into another container.  This not only reduces the freshness of the product (going against what we just talked about), but it’s also an added step that could be avoided.  Consumers may look to buy smaller packaging to ensure freshness, or simply for the convenience of not having a 50lb bag of food stashed in their pantry.  Designing packaging with convenience and freshness in mind could be as simple as adding a zipper closure to the bag.  Or for those consumers who prioritize freshness, smaller-scale bags or single-serve options may make more sense.

Sustainability

Today’s pet parents want to do the right thing for their animals as well as the planet.  More than 54% of consumers consider sustainable packaging when selecting a product.  In 2022, when you reimagine your packaging, you must consider sustainable options.  There is constant investment and innovation in the packaging world for more earth-friendly options.  Some types of packaging are more friendly out of the gate, check out our sustainable packaging infographic (link)to learn more.  However, other packaging types, like flexible packaging, can have a more complex sustainability story.  Lighter weight packaging improves sustainability while materials can negatively impact the ability to be recycled. There have been significant developments in flexible packaging materials and we offer compostable and recyclable options for flexible packaging that are a paw-some option as you consider sustainability.

Right-Sizing

With the rollercoaster of the last few years, brand owners are challenged to take a deeper dive into their packaging right meow.  Analyzing your product portfolio and sku count is important to make sense of the data and what the needs are at the moment, because there may be an opportunity for your packaging to be better supported by your supply chain with a simple switch and prioritization of skus.  These adjustments may ease the burden on your suppliers as well as your internal teams.

Less is More, or is it?

Through the years packaging trends have gone from simple to complex and back again, with each iteration evolving a bit.  In 2022, we are starting to see a bit of a transition back to minimal and simplistic packaging standing out on the shelf.

Ultimately, whenever there is a redesign being considered—for a food product for humans or pets—be sure to look at the complete package.  Review regulations for the pet industry, research new packaging offerings, materials, embellishments, you name it.  Put all your cards on the table and leverage your suppliers for support and innovative ideas.

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