Pet food packagingAmericans love their pets. Take a quick browse on social media, and you’ll find just as many photos of the family dog as you will of your friends’ kids and grandkids. The reason? More than 90 percent of Americans surveyed in a 2011 Harris poll reported they view their furry friends as much more than walking partners; they consider them to be part of the family.

Before you brush that off as lip service, consider this: Americans spent upwards of $66 billion on pet care in 2016 alone. That’s more than a $6 billion increase from just a year prior, — and it’s not even factoring in all of the money you spend on replacing your chewed-up tennis shoes!

We can attribute this growth to a number of factors. For starters, people currently own more pets than ever before. The American Veterinary Medical Association reported Americans housed nearly 70 million dogs and more than 74 million cats in 2012; and, because people view their pets like family, they’re going to spend like it.

“We’ve definitely seen a surge in pet-related brand activity; from elevating existing brands, to healthy activity around new brand creation and innovation,” Pamela Long, director of client services at Little Big Brands told Brand Packaging. “Even companies out of category are looking at how they can break into the market. It’s no surprise as the shift in thinking of Fido or Fluffy as a pet, to instead an almost-human family member, has spawned a proliferation of new products and the ability to upsell the consumer.”

Another reason for growth — and this probably comes as no surprise to pet owners — is that people are spending more money buying pet food. The American Pet Products Association reported that consumers spent an astonishing $28 billion on packaged pet chow and treats in 2016, and Brand Packaging estimates that number will surpass $30 billion over the next four years. But, people aren’t just reaching for the flashiest item on the shelf.

Flexible Packaging Pouch Dog treats

Gone are the days when cutesy labels and catchy slogans were enough to sell pet food products, Long told Brand Packaging. The modern consumer is spending more time examining nutrition labels and comparing brands to ensure that only the best grub goes in Spot’s bowl. That’s not to say that packaging isn’t important; contrarily, it’s arguably one of the most critical factors in a consumers decision to purchase one brand over another.

Brand Packaging recently surveyed professionals working in various branches of the consumer packaged goods industry to get a feel for 2018’s most significant trends. The majority of participants reported they felt that packaging is critical in building a brand and intend on investing more resources into marketing, sales, and design over the next year to maximize growth and keep up on the latest packaging trends. It’s not enough to use eye-grabbing colors.

Pet food packagingConsumers are craving more sustainable and recyclable packaging. Some are even trying to reduce their carbon footprints and waste through compostable materials.Additionally, people want their product’s packaging to be more flexible and feel lighter. Bonus points if the product comes in a preformed pouch to keep food lasting fresher for longer.

Label Technology understands the draw towards these trends and offers many options to help businesses proudly sell pet care products that are just as pawsitively wholesome on the inside as they are outside. If you’re interested in talking through some of your options, give us a call or shoot us an email.