Pets have always been a part of the family, but in the last decade, they have earned a coveted spot in both the hearts and wallets of pet owners. With this consumer shift, the pet food market has seen tremendous growth—and increasing competition—from existing and new brands. From functionality to aesthetics, packaging can play a critical role in a product’s success or failure in the pet food market. Pet food manufacturers are now spending as much time and energy on what’s outside a product as what’s in it. With the rise of new pet food innovations, there is an increasing demand for packaging solutions that better meet the needs of these products. The right packaging can attract new customers, encourage trial, extend shelf life, support sustainability efforts, and more. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the top pet food trends of 2022 and the packaging solutions that rise to the occasion to work with these needs.
It will come as no surprise to pet food brands that human trends are continuing to shape the pet market and influence buyer demand and behavior. The call for more “natural” products is no different. As human consumers push away highly processed foods, the desire for more natural ingredients, including the use of single-protein sources and more plant-based ingredients, is increasing in the pet market.
While there is no regulation when it comes to “natural” or “clean-label,” these formulations often include all-natural preservatives, grain-free carbohydrate sources, non-GMO ingredients, natural colors and flavors, limited ingredient diets, no by-product protein sources, organic, and more.
These minimally-processed, clean-label formulations often omit the artificial flavors and preservatives that are typically used to stabilize the product. Without these stabilizers, clean-label pet food can more easily lose its efficacy and degrade. Flexible packaging, like our multi-ply laminated bags, protects high-quality ingredients against moisture ingress and oxidation, and even has the ability to extend the shelf life of the product. Multi-ply laminated bags are also easy to carry, store, and transport due to the overall strength of the bag and its ability to be customized with an optional handle.
Pet owners are focusing more and more on their pets’ health and wellbeing. While pet supplements have historically been driven by joint, skin, and hair health, immunity support and digestive health are reshaping the market. These innovations include probiotics, collagen powders, water enhancers, and novel ingredients like cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oil that require extra protection from moisture and oxygen.
Airtight flexible packaging—like our stand-up pouches and block bags—come in a wide variety of sizes and can be customized with zippers, tear notches, screw caps, handles and more for end-user convenience. Plus, our innovative optional one-way degassing valve creates a one-way vented bag, which enables air or other gasses that are emitted from the product to flow out, but not back into the bag.
The emerging category of meal toppers and mix-ins allows consumers to add variety, improve palatability, and provide a personalized touch to their pets’ mealtime experience. Meal toppers and mix-ins are being developed in a range of formats, from freeze-dried proteins and powdered blends to whole food toppers, frozen and fresh enhancers, and finally as liquid meal pour-overs.
No matter what format your meal topper products take on, there’s a flexible packaging option that will not only help your product stand out on the shelf—but that will provide a more sustainable option compared to rigid packaging. Flexible packaging on the whole typically uses less energy to produce and emits less greenhouse gas compared to other types of packaging. Our high-barrier pouch helps reduce the overall carbon footprint by decreasing both the likelihood of breakage and the product-to-packaging ratio, saving you dividends on overall costs.
Our single-serve or small multi-serve stand-up pouches can be customized with a spout, reclosable zipper, tear notch, and/or one-way degassing valve, and are ideal for both liquids and dry foods. Plus, like the name suggests, these bottom-gusseted, stand-up pouches stand up easily on the shelf and provide a large printable surface that can catch the eyes of consumers.
With so many different and competing pet food varieties on the shelves, it’s never been more important to maximize packaging appeal both in-person and online. Consumers are drawn to bright colors and high-end graphics, and are seeking packaging durability that stands up to the high demands of ecommerce delivery. Shoppers have also shown they are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging and convenience features like resealable closures and packaging that, in smaller sizes, offer single-use convenience—features that are all available with flexible packaging.
Using flexible packaging in a unique shape and size, like our pouches, block bags, and 25kg/50lb industrial bags can create added interest on the shelf, while also providing the durability needed to ensure the product arrives safely at the doorsteps of online shoppers. Flexible packaging provides a unique opportunity to feature stand-out digital graphics and unique finishes that add a creative “pop” on the shelf.
Flexible packaging also offers several advantages when it comes to custom printed packaging for seasonal product offerings and exclusive product deals with select retailers. Through our digital printing capabilities, we offer lower minimum order quantities that are perfect for packaging small batch products quickly with no set-up fees. Our digital printing solutions also offer quicker turnaround and a shorter lead time.
If you’re considering making the move from rigid to flexible packaging or need a more sustainable high barrier package, our team of flexible packaging experts can help advise you on the best shapes, sizes, materials, and other options to customize a flexible package for your pet food needs.
As a flexible packaging innovator, we can help you make the switch and help increase the efficacy, shelf appeal, durability, and sustainability of your pet food offerings. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we help you achieve your packaging objectives.
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