The premiumisation of pet care packaging

It’s no secret that premiumisation is a growing trend in the pet care market. In particular, high-quality products with functional, grain-free and natural ingredients are leading the innovation and attracting consumers to trade up from mid-price offerings. This is presenting a significant sales opportunity for brands and retailers which effectively tap into the trend. However, the prospect for sales growth is limited if the packaging does not reflect the premium nature of the product.

With a multitude of items flooding the shelves, it has never been more important to consider all facets of the marketing mix, including the positive impact of Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and Shelf Ready Packaging (SRP).

SRP is the first point of interaction for shopper’s in-store and provides the perfect surface for brands to communicate their premium offer, not least by using visual cues that align to the primary pack. SRP also provides an effective platform to communicate information on the ingredients used and their health benefits. This is particularly important as a recent YouGov survey commissioned by DS Smith found that 31% of British pet owners would try a different brand of pet food to their usual purchase if the packaging emphasises the health benefits of the product. A further 28% would also switch if the product’s packaging displayed detailed information about the ingredients.

Similarly, POS displays filled with SRP or consumer packs play a crucial role in attracting the attention of discerning pet owners. According to TKM’s 2017 POS Survey, 82% of marketers rank POS as the most relevant and influential factor in the lead up to a shopper purchasing goods. With increasing numbers of primary pack formats – from bags to cans, and pouches to boxes – SRP and POS displays in-store offer an effective way for pet care brands and retailers to reiterate and reflect their premium offer to attract the attention and communicate to time-poor shoppers.

By investing in high quality and well designed SRP that clearly communicates the premium nature of a product in support of a pet’s diet, pet care businesses could elevate their brands and compel shoppers to trade-up or switch to trial new or repositioned products.

With packaging in store having less than two seconds to capture a shopper’s attention, it is vital that pet care brands consider their SRP as part of the marketing mix. Shopper decisions are driven by the subconscious part of the brain and with tens of thousands of products competing for attention in an average supermarket, shoppers use shortcuts – colour, shape, iconography and brand logos – to process the excess of information and make decisions.

With the increasing importance of pets in households, shoppers are spending more on pet care. More natural and premium products are gaining space in store, pushing expenditure up as pet owners seek better quality. Ensuring that pet care packaging reflects the quality of products will support perception and ultimately sales growth. Now’s the time for pet care brands to evaluate their packaging and point of sale to ensure stand out on shelf.

This feature originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Pet Gazette

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