Pet supplements are defined as either dietary or therapeutic supplements that benefit most household pets in different ways and come in different types of packaging. While the country is still in economic turmoil the pet products industry is growing leaps and bounds. Pet health has proven to be a particularly aggressive area of growth and with pets living longer and their owners treating them like one of the family they are giving them all sorts of supplements to cure old age problems. These trends are focused on dogs and cats but can’t be limited to just our furry friends. Birds, fish, reptiles and small animals are also included in this billion dollar industry. There are several types of supplements, UT Health, Multi-Vitamins, Glucosamine, Omega 3 and Calming. So, how do we packaging these items to get the most out of the market and grab the attention of the consumer?
Many supplements come in a liquid form and will be filled into a colored PET or HDPE plastic bottle with a full wrap-around label. These bottles are popular as they can portion out the dosage with an eyedropper style cap. Typical fill for this type of package is anywhere from 6 to 12 fluid ounces but is dependent on the application and the prescribed use of the supplement. After the filling and labeling, the bottle may be packaged in a retail carton for a greater billboard and graphic area for marketing your brand on the retail shelf. Date and lot codes are required for traceability and should be ink jetted to the bottle, the retail carton, or both.
Another popular pet supplement come in the form of tablets, pills or capsules. These can be filled into a glass or plastic bottle according to a fill “count”. Typically, cotton is used to “top” off the fill so the product does not shake or break. Desiccant inside the bottle is recommended to absorb unwanted moisture that can melt or dilute the product inside. Finally, and induction or compression seal should be applied to the top of the opening of the bottle for security and tamper evidence. Note that a compression seal has an adhesive to secure it to the rim but and induction seal requires a special machine that acts as a “microwave” to make sure the seal is secure.
Small pouches or “sachets” are also a clever way of packaging a powder supplement and have increased tremendously in popularity. These packets can range in size but a smaller pouch is always better and should be dictated by the dose or fill weight. Consult with your contract packaging expert to determine the best film structure and proper pouch size based on fill weight requirements, bulk density of product and graphics. To optimize sales at retail, companies are finding the convenience of a chipboard counter display to be effective as it can hold 12 to 24 packets for easy dispensing by the customer. Marketing several packets into a retail carton in a 30 or 60 count is also used so the consumer has a month or two worth of single use packets. High-end graphics is always recommended and UV coating on the carton can help make the product stand out.
This is another form of packaging a supplement, some companies with use foil blisters for a capsule or a chewable snack. This is similar to Sudafed or Mucinex where there may be a sheet of 10 where the pills can be easily dispensed one at a time. Many companies then opt to place one or two sheets into a chipboard tuck tab box for better appearance on the shelf, again allowing for some billboard space for eye-catching graphics or copy that will tell your story.
According to the U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2013 the trends are moving towards the powder packets. At this time the FDA does regulate the packaging of pet products and requires all ingredients to be listed and that none of the products are recognized as health threats. (Unfortunately not all natural products are tested at this time by the FDA) Every product packaged should have the name and contact of the manufacture alongside the active ingredients. There are many different types of supplements and many different types of packaging solutions, you just need to figure out what your market is and how you want the consumer to view your product. Enlisting a full turnkey contract packaging company to help you thru the design and pack-out phase could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run on your pet supplement project. Remember pets are part of the family so consumers are very particular about the packaging. If the packaging “looks” good and is packaged correctly, then it should be good enough for their pet.