Written by PIJAC Canada Member and Guest Author
Stephanie Dumont, Founder & Creative Director of StreetDog Marketing
Sustainability is everywhere – from fashion and beauty to travel and more, it’s permeating almost every aspect of how brands do business, including the ways in which they package their products.
When it comes to pet products, sustainability isn’t just a marketing buzzword but simply a way of doing things for a growing number of pet businesses. Whether it’s pet food, treats, toys or accessories, more brands are turning to reusable, compostable or upcycled packaging, and consumer interest is driving a considerable amount of the demand for more sustainable ways to package our beloved pet products.
But where is the demand coming from, and can this trend stick around to stay? We’re taking a closer look at why sustainable pet packaging has grown so popular (and how pet brands can help encourage customers to reuse and recycle pet product packaging).
It’s no longer just a buzzword
The pet industry has grown exponentially, where, in North America alone, the industry stands at over $200 billion.
It’s not just because people care about the products they buy, but because pets have become and continue to be treated as family members. Millennials, for example, are postponing marriage and children and having pets instead, helping to elevate the pet industry to the point where sales in North America are projected to hit around $280 billion by 2023.
More brands are creating gourmet food products and upscale product offerings targeted at all pets, not just cats and dogs, but as celebrities and small business owners alike join in on making products that cater to virtually every pet owners perceived needs, it’s fair to say the industry will continue to explode.
Branding plays a large role in that, where the positioning of products from both a brand and package perspective can impact whether people turn to, or away from products. Sustainable packaging is part of it, where customers are driving the demand for more eco-friendly ways to serve up food, treats and accessories to their pets. It’s safe to say that sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for pet brands, but a reality of everyday business practices.
For some consumers, sustainable packaging is a key value prop
Like the events industry, the pet industry contributes significantly to global waste, where everything from bags, labels, tags, containers and other types of packaging are often improperly recycled or unfortunately not reusable, and sometimes it’s unavoidable. But it’s easy to see why consumers would want packaging that’s less harmful for the planet.
When consumers can reuse bags or containers from pet products or know that they’re compostable, it’s not just a value prop for the brand but gives consumers peace of mind. And that’s important, because as pet owners, we want to know and feel that we’re doing what’s best for our pets without impacting other things, like the environment.
A few ideas brands can use to encourage consumers to reuse and recycle
- Add tips and helpful advice to your product packaging that shows consumers how they can recycle or reuse packaging like bags, containers and boxes
- Offer rewards programs or special discounts to customers for shipping back empty food containers or bags that can be broken down and used to make new packaging (if your brand has the ability to do so, of course!)
- Use your brand’s social media platforms (like Instagram) to feature tips and tricks for how customers can reuse packaging