The pet food industry is experiencing robust growth, due, in part, to a pet adoption increase. The owners are also spending more, on average, on the keeping of their pets. The average cost of pet food products has experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% in the last 10 years and is projected to grow by 4.1% in the next five years (2022-2026). Volpak has the right expertise to effectively overcome the challenges of the sector, offering a wide portfolio of solutions, both for pre-made pouch packaging and form fill seal machines.
The pet food growth – Higher value products, higher profits for producers
In 2020 pet population growth in developed markets, and saw a major pivot in ownership to higher-income households. The trend has continued in 2021, with the consolidation of the working habits of the families that decided to adopt and care for one or more pets. All of this, according to data shared by Euromonitor, has led to a 9% increase in pet products and, more specifically, an 8% increase in pet food, especially of premium products (9% increase), followed by mid-market and low-cost products. Branded products have also seen a higher increase in their market share when compared with private label products. The spread of pet food products has been especially significant in high-income regions, such as US, Europe, and Japan.
Pet food in pouches – practical and popular
This type of flexible packaging offers several advantages, such as convenience, a large capacity in relation to the size of packaging, and, if produced with the correct materials, a long shelf life. For this reason, it is said to be the ideal choice for the packaging of dry products (kibble or treats), as well as semi-moist products (meat-based food), or liquids (soups).
Pouch packaging is usually made by FFS (Form Fill Seal) machines, such as the ones designed by Volpak, which boasts more than 40 years of experience in this field. FFS machines span all the stages, from forming to filling to hermetic sealing. These processes are critical – in the case of pet food, machines must dose the product with precision and handle it correctly during package forming and sealing, while meeting strict hygiene standards.
The expertise to meet pet food industry needs
In the case of liquid pet food packaging (typically meat with sauces), it’s essential to be able to count on machines capable of guaranteeing the highest precision in the pouch forming and sealing stages, in addition to careful handling of the packaging. These are mainly low-capacity pouches, usually around 200 milliliter, typically used for mid to high-end packaging and products, sold predominately in developed markets.
Solution for both dry and liquid pet food products
On the other hand, dry products, such as kibble, require machines that can work at high speeds and with large formats, half a kilo and above. These products are mainly aimed at the US market as well. The specific solutions designed for “form fill seal” packaging also allow a more efficient offsetting of the initial investment, ensuring the same quality and characteristics of pre-formed packages – mostly used in US and Asian markets – in terms of shelf-life. The reels of packaging material are less expensive than pre-formed pouches and allow to save material, which benefits the environment as well.
Sustainability without sacrificing quality
Sustainability is, in fact, another important issue, especially in high-income regions such as the United States, Europe, and Japan. When it comes to this issue, Volpak’s machines can offer a competitive advantage since they can employ environmentally friendly mono-materials for the packaging stage. Pouches are also a convenient type of packaging in terms of layout, since there is no empty, unused space inside them. This also reduces transportation costs.
Quality is the need of the hour
All of this is possible without sacrificing quality – pouches made with Volpak’s machines typically feature a double sealing system, the first one ensures effective hermetic sealing and is produced by an ultrasound system, but this is not all. To be more aesthetically appealing, Volpak’s packaging also includes a second sealing system, which is produced by a heat-sealing tool and serves mainly an aesthetic function.
Being part of the Coesia group enriches the company’s know-how, as the Group brings further expertise also thanks to partnerships among its member companies. This environment allows Volpak to work in a predictive manner.
For example, when designing a pouch packaging line dedicated to pet food, the company can carry out specific tests before the final installation by simulating production conditions and putting pouches into the same stress conditions that they may undergo during the actual process. These tests are carried out at the “Pouch Lab”, a research and development center at Volpak’s headquarters. Here the company tests the mechanical resistance and behavior of pouches by using different materials and simulating different environmental conditions.
Volpak, part of Coesia Group, is a company built on robust technological foundations, specialized in horizontal form-fill-seal solutions for the pouch-type packaging industry. Founded in 1979, Volpak was acquired by Coesia in 1996, subsequently benefiting from the solidity and expertise of what is now one of the biggest and technologically advanced groups in the world. In 2001, Volpak acquired Enflex, a company specialized in the design of entry-level horizontal pouching machines, thus expanding its product portfolio. Today, the Volpak and Enflex brands offer the market a wide range of automatic pouching machines able to form, fill and seal pouches of all sorts of type and size, for a whole variety of industries, operating at low-, medium- or high-speed. The company can count on the expertise of approximately 270 employees mainly based in the Barcelona headquarters, consisting of a facility of 12.000 square meters, where products are designed, manufactured, and marketed. The company, through its extensive sales network of representatives and agents, is present in over 130 countries around the world.
*data provided by Euromonitor