According to Cooper Pet Care, there are around 145 million pet animals in the European Union in 2022 (including Norway and Switzerland). This is a 5 million increase compared to 2021. Among those pets are about 66 million dogs and 79 million cats. Pet food packaging as a concept is gaining traction and is constantly evolving in much the same way as packaging for food for human consumption.
Important factors include the transportability of packaging or the ability to customise it and stand out from competitors, as well as preserving the food in optimal condition. At SP Group, we’ve always believed in innovation. With that in mind, we’d like to discuss some of the latest trends and requirements we are seeing in the pet food market.
1. SUSTAINABILITY: A STRONG TREND IN THE PET FOOD PACKAGING MARKET
Consumers are increasingly prioritising packaging sustainability, irrespective of the product, and pet food packaging is no exception. According to Animal’s Health magazine, the pet food industry has taken steps in recent years to promote the sustainability of raw materials, manufacturing processes, packaging and transportation. This not only focuses attention on the origin of the food but leads to more sustainable packaging.
This type of packaging is only possible with eco-design principles and the appropriate selection of materials for the manufacturing process. PP HB ECO and PE HB ECO are examples of materials that not only meet strict food conservation criteria but are highly sustainable.
2. FLEXIBLE PACKAGING FOR PET FOOD
Pets accompany us throughout the day, including during our leisure time and on outdoor excursions. This is the reason behind the increasing trend towards more flexible and convenient packaging. On-the-go packaging formats for pet treats constitute one such trend to watch in the near future.
Doypacks and unit dose packaging are easier to use and transport and are increasingly popular. They can also be customised with zip closures and other sealing mechanisms to keep oxygen out and extend the useful life of the product.
3. GREATER CUSTOMISATION IN PET FOOD PACKAGING
Attractive and customisable packaging will be crucial factors in the pet food packaging market in 2022. Customisation can make a product stand out from the rest in terms its aesthetic. What’s more, it can be a useful tool for owners with multiple pets. For example, it is not uncommon to keep dogs of different breeds, each with its own nutritional needs.
Since pet food tends to be fairly homogenous in appearance, customised packaging can make feeding time more manageable when multiple pets are involved. The Hector Kitchen brand has great examples of this, and offers packaging customisation options on its website.
4. THE LOGISTICS CHAIN AND INTERNET SALES
The pet food packaging sector must keep close watch on market trends and consumer needs. Beyond the classic large-bag format, we are increasingly seeing different sizes of pet food packaging in retail spaces and on brand websites.
The packaging features in the pet food market must be suited to the product inside, e.g. dry, semi-wet and wet foods.
Packaging in this sector has gradually changed to match shopping habits. A handle may not matter so much for products purchased online, but it certainly becomes an important factor for products sold on the shop floor. Packaging customisation will therefore vary depending on how the product will reach the end consumer.
Packaging resistance is also being continually improved, resulting in stronger packaging solutions with a greater barrier. This trend is here to stay and the industry is invested. After all, the longer the product stays in top condition, the better the experience for both owner and pet. Quality in the pet food market cannot be achieved without optimal preservation of the product. Hence the ongoing research in the development of packaging solutions with increased performance.