Perfect Packaging for Pet Products

The pet sector has grown at an astonishing rate, and demand is on the rise for premium pet product packaging that is sustainable and convenient.

By Jeremy Freedman, Managing Director of Guardpack

With many people confined to their homes over the previous 24 months, the pet care sector has been growing at an astonishing rate around the world. Due to consumers’ considerable expenditures on their pets, this sector has grown globally from $216 billion in 2020, to $232 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach $350 billion by 2027 according to a recent report from Global Market Insights.

But where there is a growing market opportunity, there is also greater competition. Despite this, many budding companies just slap their brand onto sub-par pet care products in the hope of making a dent in the industry. The majority of these fail to cater to both the needs of the pet and the owner, making success here rare.

Diversification of the pet product sector

The industry has seen substantial growth over recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. While canned food may have been acceptable to the average consumer in years gone by, the modern era calls for something different. The market is diversifying almost as quickly as it expands, with vitamins, organic snacks, fur wipes and dog shampoo all growing in demand.

With packaging typically being the last step in the customers buying journey, it’s essential that brands are able to provide convenient packaging that matches the growing demand and lifestyle of the consumer. This covers anything from an eye-catching design to unique innovative capabilities. So, the question arises, how can you differentiate yourself?

Most consumers want sustainable packaging

Sustainable products are of increasing importance in this day and age, and for good reason. With over 75% of consumers preferring products in sustainable packaging, this is something that cannot be ignored. Sustainability is an incredibly influential factor in the consumer buying decision, and this is something that will not diminish. Considering the climate change horror stories that are now more prominent than ever, it comes as no surprise that the call for ethical and eco-friendly products is rapidly growing. For the majority of pet product packaging, utilizing recyclable and biodegradable materials is the most prominent approach.

Continuous technological developments allow for new sustainability opportunities. An option proving particularly effective in recent years is recyclable plastic and laminate. The majority of existing packaging consists of some form of plastic. These sustainable materials offer equal, if not improved barrier properties to the standard packaging materials.

While some sustainable packaging materials fail to deliver the desired quality, durability or safety features that manufacturers strive for; recyclable plastic is not one of them. They meet, not only the preservation requirements of pet product manufacturers, but also the environmental requirements of the average consumer. Eco-friendly production, however, is not enough in the campaign for widespread sustainability. Brands should also include clear recycling instructions in order to encourage consumers to participate in local recycling programs and assist in the sustainable disposal of these packaging materials.

Demand for premium packaging is growing

With a growing number of pet owners treating their companions to premium cat or dog food, many businesses are pushing for a new range of high-quality products. This is unlikely to slow down either, with many pets being put on specific diets, prompting the demand for gourmet food with all the vitamins and nutrients they need. The rise of premium food prompts the need to protect, preserve and present the contents of it through high quality packaging, reflecting the premium promise.

Flexible packaging is an ideal format for pet food products, as it offers outstanding temperature resistance and durability, while also remaining cost-efficient. This formats’ high-quality barrier properties also help in retaining the respective nutrients and health benefits of the food, heightening the value in the eyes of the customer.

Premium packaging isn’t solely used for pet food, however; with an increasing number of owners pampering their pets with a variety of premium products, the market is continually expanding to account for more top-quality pet soap, shampoo and general cleanliness products, catering to specific breeds and skin types.

The visual appeal and feel of packaging matters

Whatever your product may be, the visual appeal of its packaging is an essential component in securing an initial sale. With customers spending increasingly more on premium products in recent years, multiple indicators have arisen to create a distinction between the high and low-quality products available.

Visually, this could include eye-catching graphics or high-quality printing techniques. This is all well and good, but your product must also feel premium. Popular surface enhancement options – such as soft finish matt, paper feel varnish and high shine gloss – all enhance both the visual and tactile experience for consumers. This also provides another medium for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Convenience enhances the customer experience

As mentioned above, the ever-growing demand for premium pet care products requires convenient packaging to enhance and simplify the customer experience. Commonly used products — such as dog food, wipes or shampoo — require factors such as resealability, storage and ease of use to be considered. Resealability factors in particular are essential in keeping the product fresh. This technology also resonates with the consumer by making the cleaning or feeding process quick and easy.

While convenience is primarily applicable to the end-user, it also holds a profound effect for manufacturers. In order to ensure that production and distribution is as streamlined and effective as possible, brands must utilize packaging which enhances the efficient manufacturing capabilities of the business throughout its entire range of operations.

Pet care trends will inevitably change in the future – as trends tend to do – but for the foreseeable future, sustainability, convenience and premium packaging will linger at the forefront of the consumer’s mind. In order to be successful, brands must cater to the desires of their target audience, so if this is what pet owners want, this is what they will get!

About the Author

Jeremy Freedman is the managing director of the UK’s leading manufacturer of bespoke biodegradable wet wipes and sachets, Guardpack, and has vast knowledge of the most pragmatic design choices for pet care product packaging and formulas.

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