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Pet food trends to expect after the COVID-19 pandemic


As pet owners continue to buy products online for home delivery or pick-up, pet food brands prepare for an intense competitive landscape in 2021 and beyond. Emerging trends in pet care signal e-commerce as a top priority for the pet food market. How can design-focussed packaging create a virtual taste of success for your products?

Consumers rely on the Internet to research products before buying them, but the pandemic has radically shifted purchasing behaviour. Nielsen’s Global New Shopper Normal Study found that online adoption has skyrocketed in 2020. In May, 44% of global consumers said they were shopping online each week, with 23% reporting shopping online multiple times each week.1

Broadline and pet speciality online retailers gained significant volume during stay at home measures as they offered constrained consumers the comfort of delivery, along with affordable and flexible shipping options. In 2020, major brick and mortar retailers also gained e-commerce market share with deliver to home as well as curbside pick-up. This new generation of digital customers have made the adaption and will likely continue shopping online for pet food.

OMNICHANNEL APPROACH TO PACKAGING

Consumers have higher expectations than ever before. An omnichannel approach to packaging is not just about selling products online and in-store, but instead creating an all-powerful bond between your brand and your customers. Package design is proving to be an ever-more vital and relevant to a customer’s experience, and therefore, brand identity.

Source: “Premium Pet Food Packaging: Spotlight on Online vs Retail Shoppers.” Mondi Dow Study. 2019.

Results from the 2019 Mondi Dow study on premium pet foods offer valuable data and a research-based argument for advanced packaging design using an omnichannel approach. Easy to open and reclose features, font readability, and sustainability are of notable importance and positively influences consumer satisfaction. Consumer-centric packaging design plays a significant role in the premium pet food segment for both retail and online shoppers.

With an omnichannel approach to packaging design, it’s imperative to consider every interaction your customer has with your product from the moment they consider purchasing to post-consumption waste. Packaging needs to attract attention on both shelf and screens, offer protection during transport, make everyday usage convenient and mess-free, meet recycling needs, and last but not least, create value by making the customer feel special.

PAMPERING PET FOOD SUBSCRIBERS

One of the biggest challenges for pet food brands in e-commerce is the rapidly changing offers and wide range of products. Subscription services help pet food manufacturers avoid losing repeat purchases to competitors in the digital age. Pet owners benefit from saving time and effort planning and enjoy the perks associated with more personalised packaging design.

Subscription services give brands the creative flexibility to work with new shapes and sizes of packaging. Features such as pre-portioned food kits make meal prep a breeze, and fully recyclable materials give your brand an eco-friendly image, which also plays a major role in improving online ratings.

Simple aesthetic enhancements and a hand-signed thank you note can go a long way. Why not make your most loyal customers feel like they're opening a present instead of a standard, monthly delivery? Strategic packaging design not only secures brand loyalty, but it can also inspire more interaction with your customers on social media.

SUSTAINABLE ONLINE SHOPPING

Concern for the environment is playing an influential role in online consumer behaviour. According to research data from CGS, more than half (56%) of UK and nearly half (47%) of US consumers say brands' sustainability is important to their purchasing decisions.2 While online shoppers seemed to be somewhat less concerned about environmental issues prior to the pandemic; trends suggest pet owners will try to reduce their carbon footprint by preferring brands that care about sustainability. Pet care brands need to ensure environmental practices for e-commerce since consumers are paying more attention to product packaging, packaging and shipping methods.

As brands and pet food manufacturers partner with innovative packaging companies like Mondi, pet owners will appreciate the increasingly recyclable and other sustainable packaging options. Their customer-centric EcoSolutions approach addresses the entire value chain while considering the specific needs of pet food manufactures, their products and the planet.

For more information on the Mondi & Dow study, "Premium Pet Food Packaging. Spotlight on Online vs. Retail Shoppers" click here

References

(1) www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2020/covid-19-has-flipped-the-value-proposition-of-omnichannel-shopping-for-constrained-consumers/ 

(2) www.bizreport.com/2020/07/study-consumers-want-sustainability-from-merchants.html

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