US demand to rise nearly 4% annually through 2018
US demand for pet food packaging will rise close to four percent yearly through 2018. Pet food represents one of the most dynamic segments for packaging due to promising growth potential and the emergence of high value packaging materials and more complex constructions. Key projections include:
Growth in the production of pet food will accelerate as the economy continues to recover and pet ownership rebounds.
Innovations in pet food, such as chilled and frozen products, will offer new opportunities for packaging suppliers.
Competitive market conditions will continue to drive pet food manufacturers to differentiate their products through innovative and eye-catching packaging.
Mature products such as multiwall bags and metal cans will face increased competition from newer packaging formats such as stand-up pouches and plastic cups.
Recovery in pet food market to spur packaging demand
The US pet food market has matured, as pet ownership has leveled off in recent years due to the impact of the recession. However, improving economic conditions are renewing interest in pets, and advances will be fueled by an increasing number of empty nesters and singleperson households desiring pets as companions. This will spur growth in pet food output and trigger corresponding increases in packaging demand.
Chilled, organic pet food packaging to rise sharply
New pet food products are often providing increased packaging opportunities. The emergence of natural and organic pet food has led to gains in paper-based packaging with a natural finish, and healthier, special-formulation pet food is frequently sold in smaller-size, resealable pouches with greater display capabilities. Chilled and frozen products currently represent a small, niche market for pet food packaging but are growing rapidly due to increased consumer demand. Advantages of chilled and frozen products include maintaining freshness and minimizing pantry storage space. Plastic retort pouches and multiwall bags are frequently used for these products, benefiting from their ability to maintain product quality in cold temperatures.
Bags, cans face new competition
The use of bags has dominated the dry pet food market for years. However, a rise in demand for woven polypropylene materials for large format bags has challenged the traditional use of multiwall paper materials. Woven polypropylene offers improved package durability and display appeal compared to paper-based packaging and is sold at a similar price point. Reclosable stand-up pouches are also advancing at a fast pace as small, dry pet food containers and in the pet treats segment, both at the expense of plastic bags. However, the higher cost of pouches versus bags may act as a limiting factor. Metal cans are facing competitive threats from tubs and cups, which are growing at a faster rate. The emergence of tubs and cups for pet food packaging is driven by their light weight, ease of handling, and reduced shipping costs.