Pet food producer Happy Dog uses 3D to break away from the pack.

The presentation of the Happy Dog “My Little Africa” range of dried dog food from Germany is indicative of the care many pet owners lavish on their animals and of the quality they have come to expect from the packaging of their beloved Rover’s food products. 

The pouch format has become commonplace for premium pet products in recent years, but precise 3D embossing raises the Happy Dog pack to another level and it is easy to see why the pack won a Silver Award for Innovation in the DuPont Packaging Awards 2012.

“Dog food that has charisma?  Yes, I think we have it here with the clever dog character but importantly for us in packaging terms is the application of embossing on flexible substrates,” says Andrew Streeter, innovations director of Pack-Track.

“The value this embossing captures is so powerful.  You have stand-out at point of sale, the desire to touch the pack and feel the embossed brand name Happy Dog - getting the consumer to do that is a bit of a wow in itself. This is a basic format, a four side seal stand-up pouch, with an extra to it; part of that trick is executing the conversion of the pack with precision. The accuracy of embossing is reflected in the precision of vertical wall manufacture and states excellence. I am disappointed by the lack of easy-open or reclose though – they missed a trick there,” continues Streeter.

“I first saw this embossing technique over 3 years ago in Japan, where it was used on refill packs for the ‘Tsubaki‘ hair care range. There it was equally overt but on a less busy background. In both cases some house rules apply, one in particular is the application of metallized finishes to highlight the embossed feature.”

“The other side of this coin is that embossing raises a string of technical issues (cost too) with microscopic breaks in the barrier caused by mechanical pressure and heat distortion. There is something of a skill here, I guess, in embossing this material undamaged. Still, we have two different powerful examples of embossed flexibles from two very different parts of the world and I think this could be the early start of a trend that Pack Track has spotted early,” adds Streeter.