According to a 2020 report from PMMI Business Intelligence on pet food market dynamics, the Humanization of Pet Food (HPF), whereby pet owners are seeking healthier products with more ethically sourced ingredients, such as those seen in human food, along with expectations of sustainability in both the food and packaging, means pet food co-packers are in the catbird seat.
Says the report, “Companies, of all sizes, utilize co-packing services; though for varying reasons.” For large pet food companies, employing co-packers to produce and package new products minimizes their investment risk, while offering speed to market. For small to medium-size companies, co-packers offer a cost-effective method of increasing production capacity, while providing premium products. And let’s not forget the startups: for them, co-pack/co-mans oftentimes can provide the full range of services—from recipe formulation, to manufacturing, to packaging.
Notes the report, “Co-packers represent a strategic point-of-entry to serve large brand owners and increase notoriety among smaller and growing brand owners.”
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And there’s business to be had. In 2019, the market was estimated at $94.6 billion and forecast to grow 5% per year through 2024. PMMI reports that North America is the largest regional market, at 39%, with a slightly lower CAGR of 4.5%—still a very healthy growth rate.
In the November/December 2021 issue of Contract Packaging magazine, we have profiled two co-manufacturers of pet food, NaturPak Pet of Janesville, Wis. (see “Pet Food Co-packer is First with Retort Cartons”), and U.K.-based GA Pet Food Partners (see “X-ray System for Pet Food Handles 25-kg Bags”), both of which have developed processing technologies to provide the freshest products made from premium ingredients. In NaturPak’s case, it has built its business on innovation in packaging, offering retort carton technology, which it reports offers a surfeit of sustainability advantages.
We hope that within these profiles, you find inspiration for your own busines—whether pet food or another market—that will help lead you to the same success these pioneering companies are experiencing.