Pet Food Packaging Trends: The State of Sustainability and Design

We’re coming up on the halfway point in 2017, so it’s a good time to look at the way pet food packaging trends have been developing so far this year. Like most other categories of consumer products, we’re seeing a move towards a consumer preference for packaging that represents their values. For pet owners, these values tend to be an emphasis on sustainability, health, and premium quality.

Sustainable Pet Food Packaging

Even more than the design elements of the packaging, consumers are putting more emphasis on making sure that the products they purchase are produced in an ethical and sustainable manner, and for pet food packaging this means the rise of biodegradable and recyclable bags.

Fortunately, there have been many advances in packaging in the last several years, including PetPack-BDG™, which means that pet food manufacturers can now choose sustainable packaging options without sacrificing the look, feel, and design of the package. Flexible packaging options like PetPack-BDG™ that are shelf-stable and biodegradable have made it easier than ever to make the transition to sustainable packaging and many pet food manufacturers have chosen to do so in 2017.

Resealable Bags

As consumers have become more concerned with the quality of the food that they’re serving their pets (40% of dog owners strongly agree they’re willing to spend extra to ensure the wellness of their pet), food freshness has become a top priority. As a result, there has been a movement away from the traditional multi-walled paper bag and towards resealable pet food packaging options.

Top slider closures in particular are surging in popularity in 2017. They provide a reassuringly tactile way of resealing pet food bags, boosting consumer confidence in the contents’ freshness.

“Clean Label” Movement

The clean label movement started as a movement for human food, closely associated with the organic food movement. Proponents look for food packaging that lists simple, whole ingredients, and preferably packaging that specifies the food it contains has non-GMO ingredients.

While this movement may have started with human food, pet owners are now applying to the food they choose for their pets. According to a survey by NUTRO pet food, 83% of dog owners read their dogs’ food labels, and 65% would opt for non-GMO dog food. Pet food brands that can make their packaging reflect these values have a huge market to tap into.

Ethical Brands

Similar to the clean label movement, pet food consumers are also looking for brands that reflect their general ethical values. Eric Pierce, a pet food industry analyst, says, “Consumers want to know what a pet food company stands for ideologically.”

While many pet food companies support a number of philanthropic causes associated with animal care, some brands are now choosing to make this information a focus of their packaging design. Packaging that emphasizes a brand’s devotion to social causes, especially causes that support animal welfare, is a great way to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

Premium Pet Food Packaging

The market for premium pet food has been expanding every year, and 2017 has seen another large increase. Brands that want to capitalize on this consumer demand are altering their packaging to reflect a more upscale aesthetic.

As consumers have become more conscious of the quality of food they’re serving their pets, they’ve looked to packaging that reassures them that the brand they’ve chosen is a good, healthy choice. High quality pet photography and premium graphic design, as well as an emphasis on “people food” nutritional labeling have become increasingly popular.

Single Serve Pet Food Packaging

There has also been a large increase in the availability of single serve pet food. These are generally purchased as a supplement to traditional, larger packages of pet food. The convenience of single serve packaging makes them an ideal choice for pet owners who want to spend a day at the park or leave their pet with a loved one overnight. It’s much easier to bring one or two single serving packages than to transport a 40 pound bag of pet food or to fill your own resealable plastic containers.

Make Pet Food Packaging Trends Work For You

So far in 2017, we’ve seen a movement in pet food packaging trends towards a focus on providing the highest quality experience for consumers. This means packaging features that enhance the presentation, ensure freshness, and are reassuringly sustainable.

Ready to start a conversation about improving your own pet food packaging? Click here to talk to our Project Central department about your unique packaging project!

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