It’s obvious, but worth repeating here: selling pet food is about the human, not the pet. Aligning your pet food packaging design with trends that drive human purchasing behaviors is the key to success in the pet product industry.
The Current State of Pet Food Packaging Design
Packaging design for pet food has shifted focus from the traditional large format bag to flexible packaging for a number of reasons:
- Convenience — Flexible pet food bags are often manufactured with additional convenience features, such as resealable closures or carrying handles.
- Humanization — Many pet owners see their pets as part of the family and, as a result, purchase pet food products which more closely resemble their own food products.
- Premiumization — Consumers who purchase premium products for their pets expect a premium experience—from their first impression of the product on a retail shelf to when they finally dispose of the packaging. Flexible packaging (with convenience features e.g. resealable closures, eye-catching flexographic printing) is an easier sell to the premium food buyer and provides a better experience with the product throughout its lifespan.
The Rise of Single Serve Pet Food Packaging Design
Price is still a factor influencing purchasing decision for most pet owners, and consumers know that buying in larger quantities gives them more value for their pet food dollar. However, as we’ve seen on the “people food” side of the packaging industry, customers are ready and willing to pay a premium in exchange for enhanced convenience.
What kind of applications are possible for single serve pet food packaging? We’ll take a look at four:
1. Single-Serve Complement to Large Format (For Pets On the Go)
Positioning a single-serve product (in addition to larger format pet food products) as an occasional convenience purchase can appeal to dog owners on the go.
Consumers who tend to purchase premium pet food are also likely to involve their pet in activities outside the home. An afternoon at the beach, taking the dog to the groomer, or dropping a pet off at a sitter’s house before heading out of town for a few days—single serve pet food packaging offers a way to relieve the pain of hauling around a bulky, heavy bag of pet food during shorter trips.
2. Single-Serve Treats
Recent research from Mintel says nearly half (48%) of pet owners give treats daily. In the absence of an exact figure from the study, it is likely safe to assume that a significant portion of pet treating happens outside the home—on walks, during training sessions, at the vet or groomer, etc.
Some smaller format pet treat packaging is suitably portable, but the opportunity exists to add value with enhanced convenience.
3. Wet Pet Food (Replacing Cans)
The aluminum can has, until now, been the standard for single-serve and / or portable pet food packaging design. Pull tabs eliminated the need for a can opener, making cans convenient as well.
Flexible single-serve packaging can elevate this experience for the consumer by providing a more premium look and feel. The benefit to pet food manufacturers is clear: a lighter, more efficient package spells potential for significant cost savings in distribution.
4. Raw Pet Food
Concerns are mounting over pet nutrition. Some pet owners have made the switch to a raw diet for their pets, and those seeking greater convenience can purchase pre-made food which is often frozen. Single serving raw food packages can remove the hassle of cutting / portioning frozen raw pet food twice a day.
Ultra-portable pet food packaging offers significant benefits to the consumer—removing the hassle of carrying large format food bags while traveling, reducing food waste, providing a better experience, added convenience, and more. Will your next pet food packaging design innovation think smaller?
For more pet food packaging insights, download our FREE eBook: Premium Opportunities in Pet Food: Revenue-Boosting Pet Food Packaging Trends in 2016 and Beyond.