Trendy, user-friendly packaging is quickly taking over the pet food market! Increasing consumer demands are motivating the specialty pet food market to expand and diversify its packaging options. As a result, pet food companies are saying “goodbye” to old style, multi-wall paper bags/metal packaging and saying “hello” to flexible plastic packaging solutions such as re-closeable bags and pouches. These stand up pouches help the consumer fill their kitchen pantries with product that can be stacked neatly in a row for easy access and reuse at a moment’s notice.
Thanks to advancements in flexible packaging, many new re-closeable stand-up pouches feature high-end graphics that appeal to the consumer and make purchasing pet foods fun! One of the hottest pet food packaging design trends is the new “matte” look or a combination of matte and glossy finishes. These finishes make the products really stand out on the shelves and attract the attention of pet food buyers across all age groups (including Millennials, who pay close attention to aesthetic appeal)!
In addition to high end graphics jazzing up the packaging, many different styles of pouches are now being used in the pet food markets including: flat-bottom box pouches, bottom gusseted stand-up pouches, pinch-bottom box pouches, quad bags, retort pouches and even liquid filled pouches. Pouches also incorporate many closing styles including: press-to-close zippers, slider zippers, double-track zippers and even hook-to-hook closures. Some pouches may also include fitments, spouts and even micro-perfing.
Common dog food structures are typically a reverse printed 48G PET laminated to a 48G metallized polyester which then gets laminated to a linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). The LLDPE sealant layer thickness is usually determined by the net weight of the pouch. The heavier the contents of the pouch, the heavier the LLDPE gauge. Typical sealant layer thicknesses can range from 2 mil-5 mil depending on overall net weigh of the pouch or bag.
Pet products spend continues to grow
Sales for all pet products & services totaled $103.5 billion globally in 2016. This reflects a 4.7 percent increase over 2015! Dry dog food was the largest market globally, racking up nearly $30 billion in sales and growing 4.6 percent in 2016, accounting for almost 40 percent of the $75.25 billion global pet food market. It doesn’t stop there! Dog food is projected to continue to hold the greatest share of the pet food market through 2017. Locally, the U.S. has the largest pet care market and growth continues about 4 percent per year. Did you know that the average US household spends about $355 annually on pet care? This is a huge amount compared to the global household average which is only a mere $50/year. Yet the U.S. dominance comes with a caveat, especially where pet food is concerned: all the growth is in value sales, not volume sales, which are actually declining.
UPDATE: Growth in just the pet food category continues beyond 2017, as indicated in this chart courtesy of Grand View Research. The growth in pet food sales should be indicative of growth in all pet products.
Through consumer research and market trend analysis plus a desire to stand out among the competition, pet food manufacturers are stepping up their game when it comes to packaging their products. If the current wave of rebranding, re-packaging and specialty formulation is any indication, the industry will be looking at innovation as a significant part of their marketing strategies for some time to come.
To learn more about flexible packaging options, click here to contact the experts at AWT Labels & Packaging.