Pet food packaging requirements become the backbone of the industry, how can pet food packaging companies achieve packaging sustainability?

The pet market has experienced booming development in recent years, and according to statistics, it is predicted that China's pet food will reach about 54 billion dollars in 2023, ranking second in the world.

Unlike in the past, pets are now more of a "family member". In the context of changes in the concept of pet ownership and the elevation of the status of pets, users are willing to spend more on pet food to protect the health and growth of pets, the pet food industry as a whole, the trend is good.

At the same time, the packaging and process of pet food also tends to diversify, from the early metal cans as the main form of packaging, to the extrusion of bags; mixed strips; metal boxes; paper cans and other types of development. At the same time, the new generation is becoming the main population of pet ownership, more and more companies are attracting young people by focusing on the environment, including recyclable; biodegradable; compostable and other more environmentally friendly and retain a good appearance and performance of the packaging materials.

But at the same time, with the expansion of the market scale, the industry chaos is also gradually appeared. China's food safety for the people's control is more and more perfect and strict, but the pet food this piece still has a lot of room for progress.

The added value of pet food is very considerable, and consumers are more willing to pay for their beloved pets. But how to guarantee the quality of pet food with high value? For example, from the collection of raw materials; the use of ingredients; the production process; sanitary conditions; storage and packaging and other aspects, is there a clear guidance norms and standards to follow and control? Are product labeling specifications, such as nutritional information, ingredient declarations, and storage and handling instructions, clear and easy to understand for consumers?

01 Food Safety Regulations

U.S. Pet Food Safety Regulations

Recently, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) heavily revised the Model Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food Regulations - new labeling requirements for pet food! This is the first major update in almost 40 years! Brings pet food labeling closer to human food labeling and aims to provide consistency and transparency for consumers.

Japan Pet Food Safety Regulations

Japan is one of the few countries in the world that has enacted a specific law for pet food, and its Pet Food Safety Law (i.e., the "New Pet Law") is more explicit in its control of production quality, such as which ingredients are not allowed to be used in pet food; requirements for the control of pathogenic microorganisms; descriptions of the ingredients of additives; the need to categorize raw materials; and descriptions of the specific feeding targets; The origin of the instructions; nutritional indicators and other content.

European Union Pet Food Safety Regulations

EFSA The European Union Food Safety Authority regulates the content of ingredients used in animal feed and the marketing and use of animal food. Meanwhile, FEDIAF (Feed Industry Association of the European Union) sets standards for the nutritional composition and production of pet food, and EFSA stipulates that the raw materials of the products on the packaging must be fully described according to their categories.

Canadian Pet Food Safety Regulations

The CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) specifies quality system requirements for the pet food production process, including specific instructions that must be declared for everything from raw material purchasing; storage; production processes; sanitization treatments; and infection prevention.

Traceable pet food packaging labeling is an indispensable technical backing for more perfect control.

02 New Pet Food Packaging Requirements

At AAFCO's annual meeting in 2023, its members voted together to adopt new labeling guidelines for dog food and cat food.

The revised AAFCO Model Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food Regulations set new standards for pet food manufacturers and distributors. Feed regulatory professionals in the U.S. and Canada worked with consumers and professionals in the pet food industry to develop a strategic approach to ensure pet food labeling provides more comprehensive product descriptions.

The feedback we received from consumers and industry advisors throughout the process was an important part of our collaborative improvement efforts," said Austin Therrell, AAFCO executive director. We solicited public input to learn more about the changes to pet food labeling. Improve transparency and provide clearer information in a consumer-friendly format. New packaging and labeling will be clearly defined and easy to understand. This is great news for all of us, from pet owners and manufacturers to the pets themselves."

Key changes:

1. the introduction of a new Nutrition Facts table for pets, which has been reorganized to be more similar to human food labels;

2, a new standard for intended use statements, which will require brands to indicate the product's use in the lower 1/3 of the outer packaging, facilitating consumers' understanding of how to use the product.

3, Changes to ingredient descriptions, clarifying the use of consistent terminology and allowing the use of parentheses and common or usual names for vitamins, as well as other goals aimed at making ingredients clearer and easier for consumers to recognize.

4. handling and storage instructions, which are not mandated to be displayed on the outer packaging, but AAFCO has updated and standardized optional icons to improve consistency.

To develop these new labeling regulations, AAFCO worked with feed and pet food regulatory professionals, industry members and consumers to develop, gather feedback and finalize strategic updates "to ensure pet food labels provide a more comprehensive view of the product," AAFCO said.

AAFCO has allowed pet product manufacturers a six-year overage to fully incorporate labeling and packaging changes into their products.

03 How Pet Food Packaging Giants Are Achieving Sustainability in Pet Food Packaging

Recently, a trio of pet food packaging giants-Ben Davis, product manager for pouch packaging at ProAmpac; Rebecca Casey, senior vice president of sales, marketing and strategy at TC Transcontinental; and Michelle Shand, director of marketing and researcher for Dow Foods and Specialty Packaging at Dow. discussed the challenges and successes in moving to more sustainable pet food packaging.

From film pouches to laminated four-corner pouches to polyethylene woven pouches, these companies offer a wide range of products, and they're considering sustainability in all its forms.

Ben Davies: We absolutely must take a multi-pronged approach. From where we are in the value chain, it's interesting to see how many companies and brands in our customer base want to be different when it comes to sustainability. Many companies have clear goals. There is some overlap, but there are also differences in what people want. This has led us to develop multiple platforms to try to address the different sustainability goals that exist.

From a flexible packaging perspective, our top priority is to reduce packaging. When it comes to rigid-to-flexible conversions, this is always beneficial when performing a life cycle analysis. Most pet food packaging is already flexible, so the question is - what's next? Options include making film-based options recyclable, adding post-consumer recyclable content, and on the paper side, pushing for recyclable solutions.

As I mentioned, our customer base has different goals. They also have different packaging formats. I think that's where ProAmpac is uniquely positioned among its peers in terms of the diversity of different products it offers, especially in pet food packaging. From film pouches to laminated quads to polyethylene woven pouches to paper SOS and pinched pouches, we do offer a wide range of products and we are focusing on sustainability across the board.

Packaging is very compelling in terms of sustainability. Beyond that, it ensures that our operations become more sustainable and that we maximize our impact in the community. Last fall, we released our first official ESG report, which is available on our website. It's all of these elements that come together to exemplify our sustainability efforts.

Rebecca Casey: We are. When you look at sustainable packaging, the first thing you look at is - can we use better materials to lower specifications and use less plastic? Of course, we still do that. In addition, we want to be 100% polyethylene and have recyclable products on the market. We're also looking at post-consumer recycled materials, and we're talking to many resin manufacturers about advanced recycled materials.

We've done a lot of work in the compostable space, and we've seen a number of brands looking at that space. So we do have a three-pronged approach where we will either use recyclable, compostable or incorporate recycled content. It really takes the entire industry and everyone in the value chain to create compostable or recyclable packaging because we have to build the infrastructure in the U.S. - especially to make sure that it's recycled.

Michelle Shand: Yes, we have a five-pillar strategy that starts with design for recyclability. We're expanding the performance boundaries of polyethylene through innovation to ensure that single-material, all-PE films meet the processability, barrier and shelf appeal that our customers, brand owners and consumers expect.

Design for Recyclability is Pillar 1 because it is a necessary prerequisite for Pillars 2 and 3 (Mechanical Recycling and Advanced Recycling, respectively). Creating a single material film is critical to maximizing the yield and value of both mechanical and advanced recycling processes. The higher the quality of the input, the higher the quality and efficiency of the output.

The fourth pillar is our biorecycling development, where we are converting waste sources, such as used cooking oil, into renewable plastics. By doing so, we can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of products in the Dow portfolio without impacting the recycling process.

The final pillar is Low Carbon, into which all the other pillars are integrated. We have set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and are making significant investments in this area to help our customers and brand owner partners reduce Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions and meet their carbon reduction goals.

Post time: Sep-01-2023

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