Pet Care Trends 2022
The global pandemic saw many people confined to their homes and experiencing increased levels of stress – but for many, the company of a pet made those long months easier to endure – and for this reason, pet care sales remained robust.
The period of pandemic allowed many manufacturers to explore new packaging – read further to get some insight into the latest 2021 pet care packaging trends that are exciting consumer interest and how packaging can increase the market penetration of your brands – and add to the bottom line of your company.
1. Spending on Pets continues to Increase
It was not only those that had owned pets previous to the restrictions brought about by the Coronavirus that benefitted from their company. Many people went out and bought new pets. In the United States alone pet ownership grew by around 4% during the days of the pandemic. The same trend affected the UK – pet adoptions grew even as more and more adoption centres were forced to close.
The spending power and lifestyle choices of Millennials have also had an effect on pet ownership. A study by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association showed that 35% of ‘young adults’ (ages 24-35) have now become pet owners – or plan to shortly add a pet to the family dynamic. 2.1 Million (19%) went ahead and bought a pet during the days of shelter-in-place/lockdown.
This active market for pet companions foreshadows robust growth for the pet care industry. In fact, many companies with pet care divisions have already seen the results. Nestle reported strong organic growth in 2020, led by Purina PetCare as its key contributor across product categories.
The need for seclusion during the pandemic appears to have strengthened the bonding between humans and their pets. Today more and more pets are treated as part of the family, a humanising trend that is on the uptick – at least according to a recent Mars Pet-care study on the subject. pet owners want to see their pets happy and healthy, and even in these trying financial times are not cutting back on pet-related expenditures.
This is backed up by a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. Their June 2020 survey revealed that around 64% of pet owners are spending just as much as they did in the months and years prior to the pandemic. Supermarkets in the UK actually saw a 2.2% increase in the value of pet food and cat litter sales year-on-year. revealingly it seems that the volume of units sold has been on the decrease – meaning that pet owners are buying more expensive, luxury brands to meet their pet food and cat litter needs.
2. Environmental Concerns Remain Front and Centre
The Coronavirus pandemic caused a sea change in buying habits across the globe – however, sustainability still appears to be a major concern for consumers. With less industry active and a significant reduction in the number of cars on the road, the pandemic saw carbon Dioxide levels across the world plummet – and the conversations on issues of sustainability have been invigorated by this – and what our planet should look like in the years after the effects of the pandemic have faded.
This has meant that eco friendly pet food packaging has a direct influence on consumers looking for pet care and food. Ignoring the issue can have severe consequences for brand loyalty.
In fact, around 75% of consumers have said that they would be willing to switch brands in favour of a company that prioritises sustainable packaging. It is also worth noting that many consumers find the information on products that use sustainable packaging confusing.
There is an opportunity for pet care and pet food manufacturers to differentiate themselves from the competition when it comes to clearly labeled sustainable packaging. This advantage relies on package labels being clear, legible, and easy to understand, and the company paying close attention to the messaging on the packaging.
3. Consumers in Search of ‘Natural’ Pet Food
The increased ‘humanisation’ of pets has meant that buyers are in search of pet food that contains fewer additives, is not as highly processed, and makes use of fresh ingredients. UK brand Harringtons launched its ‘Just 6’ brand of dry dog food (so-called due to the fact that it has only six ingredients) and that brand quickly became the best-selling dry dog food available in UK supermarkets., supplanting Bakers as the market leader.
Manufacturers in the European market have been quick to leverage the ‘natural’ trend, with 53% of the brands launched making a ‘natural’ claim in some form or another. 43% of launches on the continent featured foods boasting a ‘no preservatives or additives’ claim. Research by Amcor revealed that pet owners are paying close attention to pet food products that have health claims. Especially popular (13% of buyers) are those products that are less processed or feature organic produce.