The US pet food industry has steadily grown in the last few years, and experts agree that now is a great time to invest in it. If you just started in this business, you know by now that pet parents are your customers as much as the pets are. And the pet food packaging is your first instrument in getting their attention and beginning a relationship with them.

Pet Food Packaging Tips

In this article, we talk about how small business owners can make pet food packaging that impresses pet parents. What qualities do they look for? Are they the same as those of human food packaging? Read on to know more about the latest packaging trends that get pet parents buying from the same brand.

Who Are Today’s Pet Parents?

Before we fire away with our guide, you need to know a few important things about your clientele—the pet-owning demographic.

Currently, two out of three American households own at least one pet. That means that your potential market is comprised of about 85 million families. Dogs are the most popular species raised by these families, followed by cats, fish and reptiles. Keep in mind that different pet types have different nutritional needs.

Pet parents can be classified according to generation:

  • Millennials — 31%
  • Baby boomers — 28%
  • Gen X — 26%
  • Gen Z — 11%
  • Builders — 4%

The top three pet owner categories grew up aware of animal rights advocacy, thanks to the visibility of organizations like PETA. Since the latter’s establishment in 1980, many people have also become proponents of animal protection. Humans have become more affectionate toward animals so that today’s pet parents treat their pets like they have human attributes and are, thus, part of the family.

Additionally, the psychology of these generations is molded by traditional and social media, which are the emissaries of environmentalism, health awareness and social responsibility. These platforms are powerful influencers of buying decisions, so making pet food packaging that emanates these values is a step in the right direction.

Today’s marketing indulges the Gen Xers and millennials, who make up the large majority of income-earning Americans. They are the biggest social media clients and are highly FOMO-triggered. They are also willing to spend more on products that protect human and animal safety. 

What Role Does the Packaging Serve in Selling Your Pet Food?

In our previous article, “Why Packaging Is Important,” we mentioned the roles of packaging in business. Your pet food packaging is vital to your marketing strategy because of the following:

What-Role-Does-the-Packaging-Serve-in-Selling-Pet-Food

The pet parents’ aftersales experience is critical in deciding a brand’s repeat business worthiness. Therefore, your packaging should not just be visually attractive but also appeal to them in other ways. And we already know what piques the majority of modern pet parents’ interests.

Learn More:

selling pet foods

What Are Your Best Strategies in Making Pet Food Packaging that Sells?

From the above information, the following tips should help make your pet food packaging stand out to pet parents:

What-Are-Your-Best-Strategies-in-Making-Pet-Food-Packaging-that-Sells

1.

Your Pet Food Packaging Must Be Made from Safe Raw Materials

The wrong raw material can leach harmful chemicals into the perishable, which can harm the animals and put you at odds with their health-conscious human parents. Safety is key when choosing pet food packaging material.

The following are the safest choices for making pet food packaging:

If you’re not sure if your supplier is giving you safe pet food packaging options, you can check the materials out from the FDA and California’s Proposition 65 websites.

2.

It Should Protect the Product and Be Easy for Pet Parents to Open

Your pet food packaging must be designed to protect the product optimally and be easy enough for pet owners to open. Wrap rage is a phenomenon that can injure consumers trying to unwrap an extremely secure food pack. It is best to avoid it because it certainly doesn’t help bring repeat business.

3.

Your Pet Food Packaging Must Have Other Convenient Features

Those qualities include:

  • Handles, because they make the packet easy for the active pet owner to carry around. Artsy handles make packaging stand out as well.
  • Lightness of weight, which also helps mobility.
  • Microwavability, to let busy pet parents heat food without losing a lot of time transferring it to another container.
  • Flexibility, to let it fit snugly inside a travel or work bag.
  • Enables easy dispensing, so active pet parents can feed efficiently. Pumps, squeezable packets and mechanical dispensers are some examples.
  • Reclosability, to maintain the freshness of unconsumed food.
  • Freezer-friendliness, so pet owners do not waste effort and time looking for another storage container.

When you think about it, all these features let customers feed their pets amid the busy schedules demanded by modern life.

4.

It Must Not Affect the Flavor

Choosing the right packaging material also depends on what ingredients you use. Pet food components vary by acidity, stability to light, moisture content and other factors that influence reactivity toward packaging materials. 

For example, plastic is chemically unreactive under ordinary conditions. However, if you don’t use food-grade plastic, the food may end up smelling like plastic or crude oil after some time of storing it in an inappropriate container. Like humans, pets shirk away from smells they don’t like. Always ask for food-grade materials when packaging food, whether for humans or animals.

5.

It Should Make Pets and Pet Parents Fall In Love with It at First Sight

Customize your packaging to captivate both pets and pet parents. 

Bright colors attract animals, but you should also incorporate your brand hues in your packaging to make pet parents remember you. You can reproduce your brand colors precisely every time by referring to their Pantone and CMYK codes.

Take great pet photos, edit them using the right software and put them on your packaging. Aside from aesthetics, you can also use the sense of touch to attract customers. You can do this by switching from glossy to matte finishes of the same material or changing the packaging substance altogether.

6.

Make Them Support Your Packaging Sustainability

First of all, has your business gone green yet? If it hasn’t, it is not too late to do it now.

In our blog, “Green Shipping with Eco-Friendly Packaging,” we mentioned that Americans appreciate business owners who advocate for the environment. Their sales dip little even in trying times, such as what we are experiencing now from the Coronavirus pandemic. The first step towards launching a green marketing campaign is by switching to sustainable packaging.

Environment-friendly packaging possesses the three R’s: reducibility, reusability and recyclability. Millennials are known to be willing to spend more on quality environment-friendly packaging.

However, when you use sustainable packaging on pet food, make sure to buy from suppliers specializing in sustainable food-grade materials. They will surely give you sturdy ones that will not ruin product quality. Avoid recycling PET, which can retain bacteria and other pathogens on surface breaks.

packaging sustainability

7.

Get Ethically-Sourced Pet Food Packaging

Ethically-sourced materials are not only environment-friendly. They also protect the rights of the workers that harvest and process them. And social media users are big on the concept of ethical sourcing.

Get your supplies from companies that provide well for their workers and protect them from health hazards. When you have secured your source, take advantage of digital marketing to inform the public of your efforts.

Studies show that, since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, many consumers have been switching to brands known to advocate for workers’ welfare. Note that this behavior is largely driven by social-media-initiated word-of-mouth marketing.

8.

It Must Be Tamper-Proof

The use of safety labels and tamper-proof seals protects your business as much as it does your clients. These tools shield you from cargo pilferage and other activities that can get your products in illegitimate markets and make you lose revenue. Tamper-evident closures also help customers avoid feeding potentially contaminated eats to their pets. Design your packaging to be tamper-proof.

9.

Pet Food Labels Must Conform to Legal Standards

In our article, “Small Business Tips: What Information Must Be on a Pet Food Label?” we discussed the FDA and state regulations governing pet food labels.

Write important information on your pet food labels, making them prominent according to legal standards. Avoid misleading claims. If you do want to advertise your pet food’s advantages, be accountable for whatever claim you make. Write your contact details, so your customers know how to reach you for any problems or questions. Have customer service agents ready for the greater part of the day to receive those calls.

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10.

It Uses Species-Specific Pet Food Labels 

Specifying the type of pet that can benefit from your product is not only legally required but also makes good business sense. It is like personalizing your service to a particular consumer bracket, which is better than targeting multiple populations at once.

Also, keep in mind that different animals have different metabolic needs. So realistically, no pet food manufacturer can claim that their product is good for every species. If you want to be taken seriously in this industry, let your labels connect with your niche.

11.

Pet Food Packaging Should Give Pet Owners a Great Unboxing Experience

In our blog, “How to Make a Good Unboxing Experience, Even on a Budget,” we defined the unboxing experience and shared tips for creating a good one without breaking the bank. Big names are known to take advantage of this marketing strategy to win over new clients and retain them for good. You can do the same for your business, whether you sell through a brick-and-mortar or online store.

Put together a surprise packet of treats. Include cute pet toys, mini-brochures and promotional stickers. If you need to ship your product out of the state, protect its integrity using the right packing materials.

  • Use newsprint paper or bubble wrap for dry, breakable pet food shipped at room temperature.
  • Use bubble wrap for dry or wet food shipped at room temperature.
  • Use packing foam to line packages containing frozen goods.

12.

Your Pet Food Packaging Should Meet Your Efficiency Needs

Finally, after you’ve taken care of the customers’ wants, don’t forget to deal with your needs. Make sure to design your pet food packaging so that it fits your filling equipment and distribution chain.

Does the pet food packaging fit an automated line? Do pallets remain stable when stretch-wrapped? Will pets benefit from vacuum-bagging the perishable? Are there other circumstances unique to your facility that you need to address before switching to a particular packaging type?

American consumers do not hesitate to switch brands when one’s product supply is constantly short. That is another behavior that we have witnessed at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Ergo, satisfying your efficiency needs also serves your customers.

pet food packaging

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By following these tips, you enhance your product’s shelf appeal to potential clients.

Conclusion

The pet food industry is a fast-growing trade, and packaging trends evolve with it. To make pet food packaging that sells, it must be functional and align with the buyers’ values. Modern pet parents go for packaging that protects the product well and is likewise convenient, well-designed, ethically sourced and legally compliant. For manufacturers and distributors, meeting these demands should not compromise their efficiency.

We have presented here a guide that can help you make pet food packaging that impresses pet parents. Use them well to boost your pet food startup.

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