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Pet humanisation and the future of pet food packaging

Sustainable pet food packaging is no longer a luxury. It’s an all-important necessity due to increasing consumer awareness and legislative directives to curb excessive waste.

The path towards a more sustainable future is on the minds of many consumers today, and they’re willing to adjust their purchases as a result. Sustainability plays ever-increasing importance in packaging decisions for 89% of brands, as stated by Packaging Digest's 2018 Sustainable Packaging Study.(1) 

According to a 2018 Nielsen report, the majority (73%) of consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.(2) Moreover, 75% of US consumers polled in a recent survey would be more in favour of a brand if it changed its packaging to be environmentally friendly.(3)

So where do pet food brands find packaging solutions that can achieve net-zero waste or drastically reduce emissions? No single packaging is right for every product; a range of new, innovative packaging solutions in paper and flexible plastic are here to meet brands' needs. Continue reading to learn about them.



Initiatives to strengthen protection features can often lead to increased use of non-recyclable materials, which in turn can negatively impact a product's environmental footprint and net contribution of packaging waste. Pet food safety has been a major concern globally, and packaging design is a vital component in reducing the likelihood of product contamination, extending shelf-life and protecting brand image, while also being sustainable.

To satisfy environmentally aware consumers and achieve their own sustainability goals, brands are reconsidering their ecological footprint with regard to packaging, transport and manufacturing.(4) The best packaging redesigns reduce the volume of raw materials used in packaging in terms of size, weight and thickness. Such optimised packaging designs reduce the space needed for transport and drastically lower CO2 emissions, thanks to reductions of 20-33% in transport weight.

Another way to achieve eco-friendly packaging is to replace non-sustainable elements with renewable or recycled materials. New paper and mono-material flexible packaging solutions designed for sustainability can place brands firmly in the circular economy.

However, appearance, strength and convenience features, such as resealable closures, are what catapult recyclable packaging solutions ahead of traditional laminates, especially in premium segments where consumers actively seek sustainability in pet food packaging.(5)

For the wet pet food segment, mono PE pouches are lighter than PET/PE laminates and ensure full recyclability where recycling facilities are available. Attractive features offer an improved user experience such as mess-free dispensing, sectioning for daily portions, and multi-dose packaging.

Mondi has a multitude of solutions using recyclable materials, protective features that ensure efficient and secure transport, and excellent stability to enhances shelf visibility for brands. For consumers, these packaging solutions also come with designs that bear convenience in mind. Reclosable features keep food fresh by keeping moisture out and aromas in, while comfortable handles and packaging structures make pouring food easier and storing it more convenient.



Sustainable packaging is born from a legacy of extensive collaboration. Mondi’s customer-centric approach EcoSolutions involves asking the right questions all along the value chain to consider the specific needs of pet food brands, their products, their customers, and the planet.

As brands and pet food manufacturers partner with innovative packaging companies like Mondi, consumers will enjoy increasingly recyclable or sustainable packaging options in a greater variety of shapes and sizes.

Supporting brands to achieve their goals requires a clear vision. While some producers are committed to making packaging fully recyclable by 2025, others are focussed on reducing CO2 emissions along the supply chain.

An in-depth analysis of all touchpoints in a product’s life cycle is instrumental in identifying parameters that influence packaging design. Mondi’s defined sustainability criteria such as responsible sourcing, renewable and recycled materials, resource optimisation, enhanced product performance, and next life opportunities are taken into consideration using three primary actions: Replace, Reduce, Recycle.

Good packaging ideas are not enough. A crucial next step is to join forces with external and internal application centres and certification bodies to verify that sustainability impact is achieved. Of course, packaging regarded as more sustainable today may be viewed differently tomorrow, as new technologies and legislation change the landscape. Pet food brands should review packaging regularly to stay future fit.

As a manufacturer of both paper and flexible plastic packaging, Mondi is uniquely positioned to offer the most suitable and sustainable packaging solutions for every product. With a multitude of innovative materials, including added barriers for paper and recyclable barrier films, our EcoSolutions approach helps brands balance functionality and renewable resources while designing winning pet food packaging.



(1) Packaging Digest. Sustainable packaging study. 2017 and 2018 editions.
(3) Dow Premium Pet Packaging Survey. 2019.
(4) Mintel. A year of innovation in pet food and products. 2019 
(5) Euromonitor International. Pet Care: Global Industry Overview. 2017.




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