We do a lot for our pets. From daily walks to nutritional food, we give our fuzzy friends everything they need to live happy, healthy lives. In many ways, pet products are held to the same standards as the goods we buy for ourselves.
This is especially evident in the pet food industry, where consumers are increasing their spending on high-quality pet food with premium packaging features, particularly those found in flexible packaging. In fact, U.S. consumers spent over $36.9 billion on pet food and treats in 2019, and that figure is expected to grow in 2020. We have seen a growing demand for safe, functional, and eco-friendly products.
Fortunately, flexible packaging with proper closures can fulfill these needs. Here are four benefits of flexible packaging to consider as you weigh your packaging options.
1. It Protects Products in Manufacturing
Quality pet food products can be ruined by bad packaging and manufacturing practices, and consumers know this. In fact, 75% of millennials said that fear of pet food contamination or product safety is a key consideration in the foods they buy.
Packaging that’s assembled with low-grade resins, inks, and adhesives can cause safety concerns if the materials leach into the food and create an odor or taste that is undesirable to a pet. That’s why you’ll want to work with suppliers that use approved materials and FDA-recognized manufacturing processes.
Fresh-Lock® ribbed zippers help secure an oxygen barrier on pet food pouches when properly reclosed that helps keep contaminants out and food fresh.
Flexible packaging offers quality package materials and designs that help keep pet food safe during production and packaging. A key to maintaining pet food integrity and freshness is creating a secure oxygen barrier, which can be supported with proper closure technologies such as Fresh-Lock® ribbed zippers. These zippers feature patented, co-extruded sealant ribs that enhance the zippers’ sealability and help protect food from contaminants like bacteria, pests, odor, light, and moisture. A proper seal and premium package materials also help during distribution.
2. It Can Withstand the Rigorous Supply Chain
The brick-and-mortar supply chain can wreak havoc on packages and products. Now we are seeing a major shift to e-commerce, which can do even more damage because of additional touch points. Brands must do everything they can to make sure their products make it safely into the hands of consumers.
Flexible packaging helps protect pet food during distribution with its durable structure and proper closures. It also helps increase shelf life and shelf appeal.
Flexible packaging provides durable, puncture-resistant protection for pet food products. Pouches have the ability to flex and move in shipments, reducing the product damage and waste that can occur with rigid tubs or carboard boxes.
There are even closures specifically designed with distribution in mind. Our Tamper Evident Track and Easy Open Track (EOT) were made to withstand impacts and protect your products during shipping. The patented technology in the Tamper Evident Track adds security and strength to the package, and the EOT has passed the most rigid drop tests. These tracks work with our easy-to-use sliders to ensure proper reclosure use after use. Meanwhile, contaminant-resistant zippers like the Fresh-Lock® DZ Double Zippers help block out air and lock in freshness for extended shelf life.
Brands that utilize flexible packaging may also enjoy better shelf appeal. Advancements in flexographic and digital printing have allowed stand-up flexible pouches to include eye-catching graphics that promote the brand and overall functionality of the package.
However, it’s one thing to capture a customer’s attention. It’s another to wow them with the product once they get it home.
3. It Offers Better Functionality for the Consumer
Pet owners love their animals, and they also love convenience. A WestRock study found that 76% of consumers want packaging that’s easy to open, and the same percentage says features like package reclosability are important to packaging satisfaction.
If a pet parent is not pleased with the performance of food packaging, the first thing they are likely to do is transfer the product to a secondary container. As a brand, this is not a good thing. A secondary container means losing your package’s brand messaging, benefits, contact information, and worst of all, your product could lose its freshness or become contaminated, leading to a bad experience for the beloved pet.
Consumers that have a good experience with pet food packaging are likely to leave the product in the original package, which is the best way to keep food fresh and safe. It also helps with branding and gives the consumer easy access to product information.
The FDA states that the best way to preserve dry pet food’s nutritional value is by storing the food in its original package and tightly folding its top. Thanks to closures like the Fresh-Lock® S slider, consumers have an even more convenient option for sealing their pet food packaging. This slider is easy to open and close, and with the highest retention values in the industry, it will stay on the package even in demanding applications, which gives customers confidence in the product and ultimately helps build brand loyalty.
Additionally, consumers that keep the original package will have the UPC code, lot number, brand, manufacturer, and “best by” date easily available in case of a product defect or recall.
4. It Appeals to Eco-Minded Consumers
While consumers want safe and convenient products for their pets, they are also looking for products that will help protect the earth. An Accenture survey found that 83% of respondents believe it’s important or extremely important for companies to design products that are meant to be reused or recycled.
Fortunately, pet food brands can implement the same sustainable closures and flexible packaging materials as those found in consumer goods, helping to reduce carbon emissions, water and fossil fuel usage, and materials to landfill. Material recovery and secondary life have become major components of sustainability, and closures such as those in the Fresh-Lock® 8000 series can help brands reach these goals by making packages fully recyclable. The Bear Naked® granola pouch, which utilizes zipper style 8113 from the 8000 series, is a terrific example of a package that supports the circular economy and helps achieves sustainability goals.
And thanks to better graphics from flexographic and digital printing, brands are able to effectively promote the sustainable nature of their packaging and provide clear instructions for how to properly recycle their product.
Help Make Product Choices Easier with Custom Flexible Packaging for Pet Food
If you want to update your packaging to give pet parents and their babies the best product they can buy, give the Fresh-Lock® experts a call. We can figure out the exact closure you need to make your flexible package as secure as possible to keep your product fresh bite after bite.