pet food packaging report

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With an increasing number of products, brands, health claims, and design elements, a purchase decision at shelf can be daunting, and a clear picture of the most effective design strategy can become lost. In 2013, Shikatani Lacroix initiated an intensive research study of pet food packaging and pet food consumers in order to inform future strategic and successful packaging designs. This two-part study consists of a pet food brand audit as well as an in-depth consumer survey, and resulted in key category insights.

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  • 1. Pet food packaging report Key trends and consumer insights on pet food brands

2. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 1At Shikatani Lacroix, we design compelling purchase moments that connect with consumers in the blink of an eye. Our philosophy and strategic design approach, the Blink Factor, is driven by a consumer's motivation to make a purchase decision. Everything we do is geared to owning the "at-purchase" moment. Our firm has a well-earned reputation for designing integrated branded experiences that effectively connect brands with consumers to drive measurable results for clients. We extend the branded experience through a consistent and coherent approach to omni-channel communication design.About the author Sydney McMurter, Account Coordinator at Shikatani Lacroix As an account coordinator at Shikatani Lacroix, Sydney works with brands such as Financial Executives Canada and Canadian Restaurants and Foodservice Association, and conducts research and analysis for client projects and presentations. Prior to joining SL in 2012, Sydney graduated from York University with a Honours BSc in Psychology and a certificate in Urban Studies, where she researched the connection between psychology and design. 3. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 2A growing category in transition Pet food is a growing category and major industry player. It was valued at USD 58.6 billion globally in 2011 and is expected to reach USD 74.8 billion by 2017. Furthermore, North America accounts for 40% of the total global pet food revenue, in 2012 (Transparency Market Research, 2013). Premium and organic pet food is one category in particular that has seen considerable growth. It has grown 20% per year in the past 2 years and is predicted to continue to increase (PMMI Pet Food Market Assessment, 2013). The growth in premium and organic products can be partially explained by fear induced by a major pet food recall in 2007 and through advances in animal nutrition science, but also by increased pet humanization. More than ever before, pet owners are treating their pets like human members of their family. This thinking has inspired a shift (similar to human food trends) towards quality ingredients, and explains why consumers are often willing to spend premium prices for pet food (International Markets Bureau, 2010; PMMI Pet Food Market Assessment, 2013). In fact, a common term to describe todays pet owners is pet parents, which reflects their devotion and emotional connection to their pets. 4. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 3Category complexity With an increasing number of products, brands, health claims, and design elements, a purchase decision at shelf can be daunting, and a clear picture of the most effective design strategy can become lost. In 2013, Shikatani Lacroix initiated an intensive research study of pet food packaging and pet food consumers in order to inform future strategic and successful packaging designs. This two-part study consists of a pet food brand audit as well as an indepth consumer survey, and resulted in key category insights.Part 1: Pet food packaging audit A total of 45 major pet food brands were identified and analyzed for packaging trends. 5. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 4Packaging trends While not mutually exclusive, four main patterns emerged through the research process. 1) Healthy look Packaging with a healthy look emphasized ingredients and health claims. Shots of ingredients that carry healthy associations for humans such as vegetables were often included. Imagery of landscapes incorporated into the design to give a feeling of organic, healthy ingredients was also common, and healthy pet imagery implied product health benefits as well.2) Tasty/appetite appeal look This design approach centered around appetite appeal through flavour call-outs and imagery of ingredients as well as happy pets enjoying the product. Often food imagery in this group looked human-like, perhaps to appeal to the humans that will be purchasing the pet food, and featured cooked ingredient shots such as cooked chicken. 6. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 53) Scientific look A third design approach was to emphasize credibility through scientific claims. This packaging often included numerical data, charts, and credibility claims such as vet recommended.4) Playful/emotional look This design approach catches consumers attention through humour, positivity, or emotional imagery or call-outs. Often imagery that makes consumers smile, laugh, or think about their bond with their pet was included. While the other approaches indirectly appeal to the emotional aspect of the purchase decision (food that will make their pet healthy and happy), this approach attempts to directly speak to the emotions of pet owners. 7. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 6Brand positioning These four design approaches form a brand positioning chart on which the overall look of brands were plotted. The dimensions of the chart were from healthy to tasty and from scientific to playful. The below chart shows approximations of the brand positions of major pet food brands. 8. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 7Part 2: Consumer survey To build on the audit observations and gain deeper insights into the category, consumer research was also conducted. Participants in the online questionnaire were United States residents over age 18 (41% male, 59% female). Average age was 45-54 years and average income was $30 000-$50 000. Sixty-five percent of respondents had no children in their household and 68% completed at least some college or university. Participants all indicated that they owned at least one cat or dog and did at least some of the pet food shopping, with 65% doing all the pet food shopping. Seventy percent of respondents owned at least one dog (29% small dog(s), 31% medium dog(s), and 23% large dog(s). Fifty-eight percent of respondents owned at least one cat. They were recruited through Fluid Surveys panel experts to ensure representativeness across the United States.Section 1: The pet food consumer The first section of the survey measured pet food shopping habits such as frequency, store type, packaging format, and brand loyalty. Type of store Consumers that frequently purchase pet food from grocery stores or major retail stores were found to on average put less time and effort into reading health information on pet food packaging than consumers purchasing pet food from pet food stores. 9. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 8Section 2: Path to purchase Second, the pet food purchase decision process was assessed to inform the design of the on pack communication hierarchy. The average order that consumers look for information was reported to be first type of animal, then brand and product type, and finally nutritional and ingredient information.Purchase drivers Consumers likelihood to purchase packaging that has a specific look (healthy and natural, credible and scientific, appetite appeal, and friendly and positive) was also measured. The top two reported purchase drivers were food my pet will enjoy and healthy and natural look. 10. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 9Health claims Comprehension of health claims 43% of pet owners mostly understand health claims and take them into account 30% only understand the basic health claims Consumer breakdown 30% of consumers: I never/rarely or sometimes look for or notice health claims (Mostly look for food that my pet will enjoy) 25% of consumers: I look for key health words or symbols 27% of consumers : I usually read most health information (Mostly look for healthy and natural appearance and food that their pet will enjoy) 18%: I often spend a great deal of time thoroughly read all health information (Look for healthy and natural appearance, food that their pet will enjoy, and credible/scientific look) 11. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 10Key health and ingredient claims Key health, ingredient, and credibility claims were identified in order to determine important call-outs on pack. Protein and no artificial preservatives were rated as the most important ingredient claims Complete nutrition and healthy digestion were rated as the most important health claims Consumer trust of health and ingredient claims Consumers were asked the degree to which they trust health and ingredient claims: 54% rated ingredient claims as credible or highly credible 57% rated functional claims (about healthy heart, digestion, bones, weight, skin and coat, oral care, and joints) as credible or highly credible 65% rated a complete nutrition claim as credible or highly credible Vet recommended was the claim highest rated credibility claim to support other claims, followed by a 100% guaranteed claim. 12. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 11Communicating health Lists of ingredients and health checklists were the top rated communication tools that consumers said they look for when assessing the health benefits of a product. 59% of respondents reported that ingredient imagery made the product seem healthy 63% of respondents reported that health symbols made the product seem healthyWhat elements do you look for when assessing health benefits? (often or always) 13. White paper | November 2013 | Pet Food Packaging | 12Section 3: Ratings of mock packages For the final section of the survey, six mock pet food packages were created as stimuli for survey participants to assess. The visuals varied from simple to complex and differed in their amount of copy (from one to four claims) and amount of visuals (ingredient imagery, health symbols). In addition, some packages included a vet recommended badge. All other design factors remained constant. Participants were randomly shown 2 out of 6 packages and

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