A shift in consumer preference towards premium products is transforming the packaging industry. Demand for high-quality, artisanal, organic and more healthful foods and pet products has risen in recent years, illustrating that consumers are not afraid to pay more for premium, quality enhancements that support a healthier lifestyle. Examples abound across all product categories – from organic foods, gluten-free snacks, fortified nutritional cereals, premium pet foods and treats, vitamins and nutritional supplements, to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.
However, with higher price points come greater needs and expectations of packaging in order for high-end goods to reinforce the brand promise of quality from the first bite to the last. To deliver on this promise, a package must not only be convenient in its ease of use, but also keep the product fresher longer to support the higher costs of a premium product.
Fido Gets Fancy
The overall movement toward healthier, more wholesome foods is dominating today’s marketplace but it is also just as prevalent in the pet food industry. Today’s consumers humanize their pets and consider them members of the family, and are consequently devoted to their animals’ overall health and well-being. It only seems logical, then, that these furry members of the family receive high quality foods and treats to ensure a healthy, long-lived life. Pet food brands are expected to provide healthier, more nutritious food alternatives, leading to an increase in packaging demand growth over the next few years. In fact, the demand for more sophisticated pet food packaging in the United States is expected to rise almost 5 percent annually to $2.5 billion in 2018.
The dog food market, in particular, is forecasted to be primarily driven by demand for premium food. In 2012, premium dog food registered sales of $6.3 billion with an estimated growth of 14 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to a report on the United States Pet Food Market. Yet, dogs are not the only pets who can reap the benefits of premium foods, as cat food, bird food, hamster food, horse feed and fish food are all offered with organic or all-natural options in today’s marketplace.
Virtually all major brands are promoting health as a critical factor across the board, according to Consumer Affairs. Almost all brands in the healthy/all natural pet food space are utilizing marketing and packaging words such as “nature,” “natural” and “health” in their names and taglines – proving just how important this premium is to pet owners.
According to research by the Freedonia Group, plastic pouches will be the primary beneficiary of the trend toward more advanced pet food. Pouch demand in pet food packaging will rise 8.3 percent per year to $540 million in 2018, the fastest pace of growth among pet food packaging types, according to the study. Having packaging that stands up to these premium ingredients is important not only because products need to stand out to pet owners (i.e. purchase is not based on taste or other factors that only the pet could determine), but also because the packaging should deliver on keeping the higher-priced ingredients fresh and edible to make good on nutritional promises.
Packaging That Supports Premium Goods
In order to preserve premium product integrity in today’s marketplace, packaging must have the appropriate closures that will guarantee both freshness and convenience. For example, press-to-close closures with double-zippers deliver pronounced audible and tactile cues that can be heard and felt when sealing a package for a multi-sensory user experience. The sensory sliders are a great way to attract and engage one’s pet, as the zipper provides a memorable cue. To prevent a product from being accessed by children or other unintended consumers, Presto Products Company offers a child resistant closure named CHILD-GUARD™. The recently launched slider, when incorporated with an appropriate film structure meets the standards required by the PPPA for child-resistant packaging. This new technology leverages flexible packaging in an industry previously dominated by more rigid alternatives.
Aside from keeping children out of products that can be harmful if they wind up in the wrong hands, sliders are also intuitive, hassle-free closures that offer ease-of-use for products targeted towards the elderly – or in other cases, even children.
In all, packaging has an important role in the modern-day premium product marketplace. Reclosable packaging, in particular, is increasingly in demand among consumers who prioritize product freshness for their pets. As this demand rises and more brand owners across different categories adopt resealable features, it will be critical to market these convenience-enhancing attributes that stand up to their premium products at the point of purchase.
About Presto Products Company
Presto Products Company (prestoproducts.com) is a market-leading supplier of products ranging from private label food and disposer bags to packaging closures. Presto, a business of Reynolds Packaging Group, operates six manufacturing plants and supports customers in North America, Europe and Asia.