Pet Food Processing - June 2018 - 66
"paper touch" and "rough touch" features. Schaich, too,
has seen a greater emphasis on appearance. "Everything
has to look premium when you're talking about packaging - including finishes and varnishes," he says.
Tied into the eye-catching, premium look of the package, flexible packages, including rollstock films and
pouches, are also tailored more for the processor and
product. "Another thing we're seeing is personalization.
There are more products for specific breeds, ages and
conditions of pets," Schaich says of the ever-growing variety of package materials and uses. "Eventually, we may
reach a point where you can get down to the personal
level of your pet."
Easy does it
The TSCA 160 chuband roll-style-packaging machine from
Poly-clip seals and
clips in one machine.
and differentiation, which is leading to a proliferation of
units," he explains.
That differentiation includes a growing variety of
package types that utilize more or different kinds of film,
from stand-up pouches to chub packaging. Poly-clip
System, Mundelein, Illinois, for example, has increasingly worked on packaging solutions for chub and roll-style
pet food that can be used for fresh, frozen, heat-treated
and shelf-stable products, according to the company's
technical applications manager, Kohl Schrader, Ph.D.
That growing product assortment and competition
within the marketplace has spurred pet food processors
to come up with packaging that again mirrors packaging
for human foods. "It's essentially the same standards as
human foods. For pets, too, people want U.S. Food and
Drug Administration compliant materials and packaging that is compatible with packaging for human foods,"
The eyes have it
Plastic Packaging Technologies, which provides a variety of laminated film structures including rollstock
and pre-made bags, has worked with pet food processors on newer and trending film-based packages for pet
food products. According to Potter, one of the drivers of
package design and film used in the pet food industry is
appearance, given the intensifying competition, the expanded product mix and the humanization analogy. He
notes that pet food processors are looking for more tactile surface coatings and varnishes, including "soft touch,"
PET FOOD PROCESSING | June 2018 | www.petfoodprocessing.net
In addition to package appearance, functional features
link back to the discerning consumer's needs and demands. For example, similar to consumer goods, opening and closing features are important to today's pet
owners, which impacts the application of films and bags.
"One thing we've seen is the growing demand for convenience, with easy-opening features and recloseability,"
Likewise, Potter says convenience has contributed to
interest in features like audible zippers and pocket-zip
zippers that allow users to tear open the entire width
without terminating the gussets, along with easy-tear
zippers that provide a clean tear line without having to
laser-score the package. That said, some package scoring
is related to the senses as well as to convenience, Potter
adds. "We even have a package with micro-scoring. The
brand owner wanted users, when they pick the package
up and push air out, to be able to smell the particular
treat right away," he says.
Emerging over the last few years, sustainability has a significant influence on package design or, at least, views of
package design. "A huge trend is recyclability," declares
Potter, who cites consumer concerns about waste and
its impact on the environment. While consumers look
for more sustainable packaging, Potter notes the benefits of films, including those used for pet food products.
"Fundamentally, flexible packaging is a good configuration to start with. If you look at the volume of food waste
in a landfill, two to three percent of material in a landfill
is from flexible packages," he explains.
Today's pet food processors can choose from materials that are more sustainable or at least less impactful
on the environment. At Printpack, Schaich says that the
company has been focused on various ways to improve
sustainability. "We are working on sourcing from renewable resins, to stay away from petroleum resins," he says.