Man’s best friend is no longer just that. More and more, pets are being viewed as a part of the family, causing the pet food industry to see exponential growth, especially with smaller brands focused on quality ingredients. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 67% of U.S. households own a pet, but it’s the millennials that are taking pet ownership to a whole new level, and turning the pet food industry upside down.
Pets Have Become Part of the Family
According to another survey from the APPA, 90% of the 1,200 pet owners surveyed said that their pets are family. And their spending habits show it, with the current uptick of doggy bakeries, subscription boxes for pets, pet spas, and pet insurance. In 2018, pet care was a $225 billion business in North America, according to data from market research firm Edge by Ascential. By 2023, the firm expects that figure to rise to $281 billion. And the biggest area pet owners are spending: pet food.
Pet Food Spending
Specifically, millennials are willing to spend more money on pet food than previous generations. And because pets are now viewed as a part of the family, millennials are choosing to buy more natural and organic lines of pet food that boast all-natural, grain-free, and specialty blend foods.
Today’s popular food brands include the small, local, artisan and fresh food options that deliver the healthier qualities today’s pet owner is looking for. There are even more natural and organic options for dog treats, bones, and snacks to meet this growing pet food trend.
What does this mean for legacy brands like Pedigree and Kibbles ‘n Bits? They are facing slowing sales, while smaller, gourmet brands’ sales are booming.
Developing Pet Food Packaging That Attracts Customers
It’s no surprise that many brands are focusing on providing pet food options that are natural and gourmet to attract pet owners looking for wholesome ingredients, fair sourcing, and a quality product.
As pet food brand owners look to their packaging, it’s important to ensure what consumers see first (ie, your packaging), matches the quality of the product inside.
When brands look to create a pet food package, consider some of these best practices to stay up on the latest pet food packaging trends, and ensure your package stands out on the busy shelf:
- Clear Messaging
Be sure to include clear messaging around the ingredients, sourcing, and the benefits for your pet. Highlight any key attributes like organic, natural, grain-free, or free-range.
- Use Great Branding
Whether it’s playful, minimalist, or whimsical, consider how impactful a great design can be. Use great artwork, sharp images and vibrant colours.
- Eco-Friendly Packaging
Consider how using an eco-friendly package like a digitally printed pouch or recyclable bag can set your brand apart. Also, consider using recyclable or compostable films and post-consumer recycled content in your package.
- Choose the Right Package
Another important factor is consumer preference. Consumers love the convenience and lightweight, durable quality of pouches. Plus, since they stand up and offer easy open and reclose properties, pouches are the preferred format for pet food.
- Digitally-Enhanced Packaging
Consider including a QR code linking to information on where you source your ingredients. You can also use a QR code to offer fun games, recipe ideas, and brand history information for consumers.
- Connect with Consumers on Social Media
Outside of the packaging, how can you connect with today’s pet owners in the digital space? Meet your consumers where they hang out: social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Encourage consumers to post photos with their pets and your product, and tag your page. Be a part of their lives and consider sharing stories, information, fun ideas, and more to keep your consumer base engaged.
Pet food packaging today should offer the quality and aesthetics to match the quality and well-thought-out ingredients in today’s popular gourmet food options. A great package goes a long way in helping your product stand out on the crowded pet food shelf, and capture the attention of doting millennial pet owners everywhere.
Partnering with a Pet Food Packaging Manufacturer
Whether you’re a small business just starting out, or a large CPG, you know that in the pet food segment, a premium product needs a premium package. Want to learn more about what ePac and our innovative digital printing technology can do for you? Call us today or request a quote to learn our flexible packaging solutions and how we can help you create the best pet food packaging for your brand.