Whether for Spot or Fluffy, there are pet foods packaged to meet every pet’s-and pet owner’s-needs. More…


If you don’t make regular visits to the pet food aisle or if you don’t solicit input as I have just done for a feature running in this month’s issue, take it from me that packaging in the category-valued by flexible packaging market leader Bemis Co. at $600 million-is doggone impressive.   

In a word, pet foods have become sophisticated, in formulations that parallel functional foods for humans.  And not only is Fido eating better, his food is sold in complex multilayer bags and pouches-including single-serve pouches, no less-with high-impact graphics that are a pet food necessity.   
One converter’s president told me, “Eight- to 10-color print is a requirement for pet food packaging. No amount of colors is too much.”   
This drive towards fancy formulations and packaging permeates the category, including a surprising rigid example: Pet tailored bottled water in 20-oz, 2- and 2.3-liter sizes. PetRefresh is claimed as the only water available that is specifically designed for the daily hydration needs of pets. Besides dogs and cats, it’s appropriate for gerbils, rabbits, snakes and other of your furry and scaly friends.   
Appropriately, PetRefresh is bottled in PET containers.   
There are at least two ice cream companies for pets: Cold Nose Creamery, which also makes gourmet dog brownies, and Frosty Paws brand from Nestlé Purina.   
We seem to spoil our pets as much as we do our kids. Maybe more so. A president of another major converter for bags and pouches disclosed that company managers jest that pet food packaging is more demanding than people food packaging. “People will feed their pets before their kids,” he adds half-jokingly.   
In some respects, pet foods may be ahead of human eats. Consider Red Moon Custom Petfood, which offers blends formulated, bagged, and shipped according to your pet’s specific needs. The online interface walks you down the proper path. I’m told they’re working on permitting customers to upload photos of their pets to be printed on the package.   
Even if your likeness won’t ever grace a Wheaties box, your pet’s picture could someday appear on a bag of Red Moon. That’s pet food personified.   
If this trend continues, perhaps one day human foods will be “pet-rified” to reflect trends in pet food formulations. You can bet the doghouse it will be in fetching packaging.