Why Pet Food Packaging Design Can Make or Break Your Brand’s Success

Whoever said you can’t judge a book by its cover never worked in the pet food packaging industry. We’ve seen a healthy growth trajectory year-over-year in the premium pet food category, which means both greater opportunity and greater competition for manufacturers. While a lot of different factors determine the success of each brand, one of the greatest competitive differentiators, without question, is pet food packaging design.

A woman smiles at her dog

Just a few weeks ago, one premium pet food brand found itself at the center of a controversy when a consumer complained that its “No ingredients from China” labelling was offensive (other consumers very well may be more likely to purchase a brand with such a label). Many premium brands have chosen to take a similar approach to ingredient sourcing due to past recalls but, in this case, the positioning on the packaging sparked more discussion than what was actually inside.

The issue at the heart of the controversy is a separate discussion, but the fact remains that a premium brand’s success on the shelf depends heavily on pet food packaging design. The word “premium” itself evokes a certain image—high-quality flexible packaging versus traditional multi-walled paper bags, convenience features that allow for easy handling and storage versus unwieldy bags that can’t be resealed, and high-definition graphics versus obvious low print quality.

Pet food packaging design trends closely mirror those we see in “human food” categories. Demand for healthier and more sustainable options are driving change in the food packaging industry as a whole, and pet owners tend to include their pets in the healthier, more environmentally friendly food purchasing decisions they make on behalf of their families. They want their pet food to be “just as good” as the food they eat. These decisions are most often made on the spot while standing in front of a supermarket shelf, so packaging design makes all the difference between your product being put in the cart or not.

Does your pet food packaging design contribute to your brand’s success—or hold it back from reaching its full potential? Here are some of the top strategic questions that inform our customers’ pet food packaging designs:

  • Are the graphics flexographic-friendly? Sometimes the digital artwork you have doesn’t translate properly to a flexible package, and needs to be reworked by in-house design experts.
  • Is the package safe, with excellent shelf stability and barrier control? The structural design of your pet food packaging is as important as its aesthetic to keep pets safe and avoid damaging recalls.
  • Is the package convenient? Will consumers easily be able to carry it home and effectively reseal it from first use to end-of-life?
  • Do the graphics effectively convey your premium message?
  • Is the film of a quality consistent with a premium brand?
  • Does the structural design of your pet food packaging enable easier and more cost-effective transportation and warehousing?
  • Is the package sustainable—either recyclable or fully biodegradable?
  • Is your supply chain fully optimized for speed and reliability, protecting you from costly mistakes that could harm your brand’s premium reputation?

If you don’t know the answer to the above questions or would like to learn how to take your premium pet food packaging design to the next level, click here to learn more about Emmerson Packaging’s premium pet food packaging options.

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