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Are Your Dog Food Packaging Labels Confusing Customers?

Pet Food Label

Millennial pet owners are an extremely influential consumer sect, and they are shaping the industry in big, bold, and inventive ways.

As a result, they expect pet food companies to exceed expectations and inform, educate, and wow them during each phase of the production and selling processes. A recent study reveals 68 percent of millennial dog owners say their pet’s nutrition is more confusing than their own, and choosing the right kind of dog food is the most difficult part of owning a pet. Many feel overwhelmed by the plethora of pet food options on the market, which is why it’s so important for brands to distinguish themselves and use their dog food packaging to communicate the benefits of their product and how it can support animal health and wellness.

Pet food companies are innovating left and right, and startups are causing great excitement in the market for their daring and creative new products. These companies are succeeding by packaging dog food and other pet products in such a way that consumers are drawn to their branding and learn valuable information that teaches them how to be better pet owners. Using bold big bags for packaging dog food is an easy way to stand out in pet stores, but carefully thinking about how your designs and graphics visually communicate what distinguishes your company from the next can help solve key consumer concerns and build brand advocates. 

Dog Food in Big Stand Up Pouch

Custom printed dog food packaging allows companies to build their brands and set their products apart, but paying careful attention to labels when packaging pet food can truly make or break a business. Mars Petcare US revealed some rather insightful information regarding current consumers’ perception of pet product packaging – many do not read the back of the food’s bag (typically referring to flat bags), and what they do read can be confusing because of an overwhelming amount of written information crammed on each side of the package. While big bags for packaging dog food are appealing because they provide a large surface area for text, images, and vibrant colors, brands need to be concise and utilize white space when designing their custom printed pouches.

PetFoodIndustry.com lists several recommendations from pet food owners and companies that help brands better design their pet food packaging. Below are five considerations companies should bear in mind when designing and packaging dog food:

  1. Shorter Ingredients Lists
    Millennial shoppers want to be able to identify the products used to make the food they – and their pets – consume. If there are too many chemicals, artificial additives, or hard-to-pronounce ingredients taking over the product packaging, a red flag goes up, and customers start to associate the product with unhealthy junk food. Pulling out vitamins and mineral content and highlighting it, rather than burying it in a wall of text, is a great way to communicate your brand’s commitment to the health and wellness of customers’ pets.
  2. Skip the Guaranteed Analysis, Focus on Nutrition Facts
    Most people don’t quite understand where a “guaranteed analysis” comes from, let alone who guaranteed anything about the product. Getting rid of this statement and focusing on the nutritional content of your pet food is a more effective way to inform and educate consumers about the healthful qualities of your product.
  3. Use a Seal Instead
    Rather than slapping a bunch of wordy statements on your pet food packaging, design a colorful, illustrated seal that quickly communicates that your product has been approved by the AAFCO or is certified organic.
  4. Use Daily Feeding Guide Charts
    No one is going to take the time to read a lengthy paragraph on your packaging when they are running errands, but consumers are more likely to respond to organized graphics that help educate them about the proper times and amounts to feed their pets. Remember – consumers make purchasing decisions within three to four seconds of cruising through retail store aisles, so make sure pertinent information can be seen and understood quickly and easily.
  5. Skip the Manufacturing Statement
    People really don’t care who manufactures and distributes your pet product – they’re more interested in knowing whether its ingredients are locally sourced and which brand produced them. Graphics are a great alternative to unnecessary sentences that can’t be read from far away. Transparency is always an important aspect of connecting with consumers and earning their trust, but some information is better communicated through illustrations and photography rather than an essay of text on the product packaging.

When packaging dog food and related pet products, a great design is the perfect way to attract consumers and get their attention. However, carefully working with a packaging supplier to choose pouches and bags that effectively protect your product – while standing up boldly on shelves – is absolutely necessary to earn customers’ trust and allow them to easily use, transport, and recycle your goods.

(Image Sources: WikiHow, Vet Supply)

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Brittany Nader

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