Pet food trends
to expect after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pet care industry has rarely changed as fast as it did in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic not only radically shifted purchasing behaviour, but there are also a record number of first-time pet owners who adopted animals during lockdown measures. What will consumers want in a post-pandemic future, and how do we expect the pet food market to change?
What we know for sure: habits are hard to break, and it takes a considerable amount of time to make the shift. Consumer lifestyles and buying patterns have changed so significantly, and that for months on end. The longer the pandemic continues, the more likely these habits will impact long-term customer behaviour.
SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES ARE HERE TO STAY
Online shopping and subscription services experienced considerable gains in market share as a result of social distancing and hygiene-enhanced delivery options. In the US, e-commerce made up 16% of the pet food category before COVID-19 and now represents 23%.1 Despite future economic unknowns, home delivery services for pet food is considered an essential service that puts consumers’ minds to rest when it comes to supply chain problems and temporary store closures.
Pet subscription services incentivise consumers to remain brand loyal and not be tempted by offers and suggestions for competing brands, especially on e-commerce platforms. Home delivered pet food kits with pre-portioned meals offer precise dietary needs and meal plan costs, creating a great sense of value from a consumer perspective. Pet owners benefit from saving the time and effort of planning, shopping for and preparing meals –including free samples and tasting packs will ensure pets will love the regular delivery too.
SNACKS HELP WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY
Except for the pets of essential workers, many four-legged friends have rarely spent such extended periods with their owners. When social distancing ends, animals will not be accustomed to spending prolonged amounts of time by themselves and could react with destructive behaviour or excessive vocalization. Pet experts are recommending slow-release and treat-dispensing toys to help alleviate symptoms of separation anxiety.
We expect snacks and treats to include mood-boosting formulas and stress-reducing botanicals, where the freshness of these ingredients plays a vital role. Flexible stand up pouches offer small portion size and resealable solutions ideal for consumers returning to a hectic workweek. What’s more, fully recyclable 100% mono-material stand up pouches make your products ready for the circular economy.
RENEWED FOCUS ON HEALTH
We should expect pet owners to have an even stronger bond with their furry companions after the pandemic, further driving sales of premium pet products. Health and well-being will continue to be a global concern for years to come. Affluent consumers, in particular, are keenly aware of their pet’s health needs. Premium add-ons and pet food toppers are a tasty way to add nutrients, probiotics, vegetables and herbs to mealtime. Mixing dry and wet food have proven deliciously popular among pets, but owners buy meal boosters to improve their pet’s stamina, vitality, skin and coat.
The post-pandemic pet food market will also see an increase in toppings, gravies and sauces made for mixing moist and dry ingredients. Cat and dog food toppers will gain significant popularity in the premium market, with innovative packaging and labelling primarily influencing consumer trials and repeat purchases.
To explore new oppawtunities for pet care packaging in a post-pandemic market, contact us today. Our global team of industry experts are more than happy to discuss all the latest trends.
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