Highlights from SuperZoo 2017

SuperZoo is one of the largest and most-attended trade shows in North America. Over 10,000 pet industry representatives from all over the world come together over four days for educational seminars, to discover new products, make business connections, and have fun.

Emmerson Packaging’s team just returned from their whirlwind trip, and have loads to share about new pet food packaging trends, pet products and more. Here are some of their top takeaways from this year’s show:

Continued Growth of Pet Ownership and Humanization of Pets

The idea of pet ownership is firmly rooted in the North American psyche. No matter an individual’s age, ethnicity or income, they all agree that pets make a positive contribution to their lives. According to the latest Research & Markets report on pet ownership in the United States, 90% of dog owners state that their pet has a positive effect on their physical or mental health, and this emotional connection leads the majority of pet owners to admit they enjoy buying products to treat their “fur babies.”

Many people truly consider their pets to be a part of their family, and, as such, pet owners are opting for products that they themselves would like to consume. This continued trend was evident at this year’s SuperZoo.

As pet parents become more conscious about what they’re feeding their pets, human-grade ingredients are popping up more frequently in many foods. More treat products are mimicking the shapes of human food like burgers, pizza and bacon, and windows or cut-outs in the packaging allow for pet parents to see the treats inside. Pet food companies are also introducing more holiday pet foods; pumpkin and candy apple for Hallowe’en, and gingerbread for Christmas.

Sustainable & Organic Pet Product Lines

The millennial demographic has the highest likelihood of pet ownership, and they are also the most willing to pay more for sustainable or organic brands. According to the latest Nielsen study, 72% of millennials would pay extra for sustainable offerings.

At SuperZoo, the trend toward environmentally-friendly products is hotter than ever before. More premium pet food brands are highlighting ingredients like sustainably caught fish, or organic beef and chicken. They’re also ensuring that recyclability or biodegradability is clearly presented on their packaging.

Emmerson Packaging is meeting this trend head-on with our PetPack-BDG™ product. It’s been rigorously tested for shelf stability and palatability, and is manufactured only with materials known to be completely biodegradable.

Package Closure Must-Haves: Zippers, Hook-to-Hook and More

Food quality and safety is on the mind of every discerning pet owner, therefore a food bag isn’t complete without a reliable closure to maintain freshness. Closure manufacturers are spending a great deal of time and money to improve the tactile and auditory experience of using their products. The more obvious the closing mechanism feels and sounds, the more consumers trust the packaging to keep its contents safe. The vast majority of pet-food bags now include a press-to-close zipper, or hook-to-hook closures.

Treat Bags & Pouches

We mentioned earlier that more and more treats are mimicking the shape of human foods, and as such, the packaging is starting to make it easier for consumers. More packages have windows, or cut-outs so consumers can see the product within.

As pet-treat producers try and differentiate themselves from the competition, new package shapes are also emerging. Box pouches are starting to pop up in a market where stand-up pouches have traditionally dominated. In order to be conscious of limited retail space—hang-holes are now included on almost all treat packages for easy display.

Innovative Pet Food Package Designs

While pet treats tend to be the most fun and playful, they’re not the only products at the forefront of pet-food packaging design innovation. In order to ensure their packages stand out on the shelf, many premium pet food brands are using new finishes and textures to provide consumers with an enhanced sensory experience.

Natural and organic brands are opting for matte finishes with knock-outs to highlight design features. Other producers are using metallic finishes or vivid graphics with nature scenes to make a splash.

New Package Types for Traditional Pet Products

Some manufacturers of traditional pet products are branching out and using new packaging to refresh their merchandise. Wet pet food producers have traditionally used cans or stand-up pouches, but this year we’re seeing more stews in Tetra Pak® cartons.

A product like cat litter traditionally comes in boxes, but as a product designed to absorb moisture, it’s important that it stays dry until it’s ready for use. That’s why many manufacturers are opting for the durability and strength of poly-bags. The bags are puncture-resistant and help protect the product from things like light and moisture that cause the product to break down. Emmerson Packaging’s custom converting capabilities are wide-ranging and can produce anything from a sturdy, puncture-proof bag to a zipper lock package.

Learn More About Emmerson Packaging’s Pet Food Packaging Solutions.

Emmerson Packaging is ready and eager to help bring these trends to market. If you’re looking for a new packing solution, or want to learn more about products like our PetPack-BDG™, custom converting capabilities, and more, our Project Central team is waiting to talk to you. Click here to chat with them today!