The pet care sector has been valued at more than $8 billion annually. Countless brands aim to take advantage of this; slapping their name on a range of sub-par pet care products in a meager attempt to make a dent in the market. Success here is rare, however, as the majority of products — and even the packaging it comes in — doesn't effectively cater to the pet's, or the owner's, needs.
The world of pet products has truly expanded over the years and shows no signs of slowing down. Cans of cat food and bags of dog food may have sufficed for the industry in days gone by, but the modern era (and consumer) calls for many more pet care options. From vitamins and organic snacks to fur wipes and pet shampoo, the market is diversifying almost as quickly as it expands.
This ever-increasing demand requires convenient packaging that matches the busy lifestyle of the average pet owner. With packaging typically being the last step in a customer’s buying journey, however, it also needs to be eye-catching and innovative. So, how can you differentiate yourself? You can start by following some successful pet product packaging trends.
With 75% of consumers favoring products in sustainable packaging, over the ecologically damaging alternative, it’s clear that sustainability is incredibly influential when it comes to consumer behavior. Considering the climate change horror stories we've been hearing more frequently in recent years, it’s no surprise that consumers are eager for the products they purchase to be produced in an ethical and eco-friendly way. For pet product packaging, this has seen a rise in the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials.
An option that is proving particularly effective is recyclable plastic and laminate. These sustainable materials offer equal, if not improved, barrier properties to traditional mixed plastic or paper packaging. This makes them ideal for anything from huge bags of dry food to single-use biodegradable wipe sachets, pocketed for a muddy walk.
It’s certainly fair to say that some sustainable packaging materials don’t deliver the optimal quality, durability or food safety features pet product manufacturers strive for, but that cannot be said for recyclable plastics. They not only meet the preservation requirements of the product manufacturers but also the environmental requirements of the average consumer. Further to the recyclable packaging, brands should also include clear recycling instructions that encourage any buyer to participate in local recycling programs.
More than 40% of pets are treated to premium cat or dog food, and this figure will only continue to rise as more and more pet owners aim to provide their four-legged friends with all of the vitamins and nutrients their specific diet calls for. Recognizing this, a multitude of businesses are now pushing a wide range of new premium pet foods; the contents of which need to be protected, preserved and presented by quality packaging that reflects the premium promise.
Flexible packaging is the ideal format for pet food packaging, as it offers excellent temperature resistance and decent durability while remaining cost efficient. It also has good barrier properties; essential in maintaining the nutrients and health benefits of the food. Premium packaging doesn’t only apply to pet food, of course. With more and more people aiming to provide the most comfortable life for their pets, the market has seen a huge rise in the amount of top-quality pet soap, shampoo and general cleanliness products, many of which cater to specific skin or fur types.
Whether you’re packaging pet food, pet shampoo or anything in between, the visual appeal of the packaged product is an essential component in securing an initial sale. There are multiple indications that a customer is purchasing a premium product, such as eye-catching graphics and high-quality printing techniques. It’s important, however, to ensure your product not only looks premium but feels premium too! Soft finish matte, paper feel varnish and high shine gloss are all popular surface enhancement options that offer both visual and tactile experiences for consumers. These choices, in turn, allow brands to differentiate their premium products against the competition.
As mentioned previously, convenient packaging is required to meet the ever-growing demand for pet care products. For products that are used in bursts — dog food, wipes or shampoo, for example, resealability and ease of use must be considered. Reseal technology, just like it is for snacks and wet wipes created for humans, is key in keeping the pet-centric alternative fresh. As well as keeping products fresh, however, this type of technology resonates with the consumer by making the cleaning or feeding job quicker and easier.
Convenience isn’t only applicable to the end user, however. To ensure the production and distribution of their products is as streamlined as possible, it’s essential that brands utilize packaging thatenables efficient manufacturing throughout the entire filling and shipping process.
While pet care trends will inevitably shift as time goes on — this is the nature of a trend after all — currently, the demand for sustainability, convenience and premium packaging is at the forefront of consumers' minds and are likely to remain there for years to come. Any successful brand will cater to itsaudience, and if this is what pet owners want, this is what they must get.