Imagine you have an empty suitcase laid open in front of you the night before a vacation you've been looking forward to (and saving up for!) for months. Now imagine you're taking that dream vacation with a friend with four paws.
As the winter months start to fade to memory and the warmer
months of summer approach, many pet owners, like many people
the world over, will be looking forward to a weekend getaway, a
relaxing trip to a tropical destination or lazy days of
lounging on the beach. What makes pet owners' vacation plans
different? While most of us will be packing our bags with
sunscreen and flip-flops, pet owners may be searching for an
easy-to-tote water bowl and petfood packaging that will keep
sand and sea water out.
The tourism bureaus of US cities like St. Louis, San
Francisco, Austin and Ann Arbor all tout themselves as "Pet
Friendly Destinations!" and offer pet travel guides with
restaurants, beaches and national parks that welcome dogs and
cats. Hotel chains like Marriot, Holiday Inn and Choice Hotels
not only invite their guests to check-in with their furry
companions, but offer specialty pet services, package discounts
and custom-made, room service delivered meals and treats. It's
about time our industry created innovative packaging, treats,
food and branding to capitalize on this growing and
economically ripe trend.
Imagine you have an empty suitcase laid open in front of you
the night before a vacation you've been looking forward to (and
saving up for!) for months. As you prepare a mental checklist
of the essential items you need to travel with, you allow
yourself to daydream about just what you're looking forward to
on your trip. Maybe your perfect getaway includes being in the
outdoors, solitude and picnics. Perhaps you're looking forward
to a little self-indulgence, shopping and nightlife. Now
imagine you're taking that dream vacation with a friend with
four paws. How does that change the travel essentials list? And
how can your company help those consumers fill that suitcase
with items that are convenient and fun?
To-go packaging for petfood and treats should be researched,
developed and implemented easily -- there are already many pet
accessory products available that would easily translate into a
marketable package for travel-size portions of food and water.
Take for example, the
Gamma 2 Vittles Vault Jr. Pet Food Travel Container. The container is designed to keep petfood fresh and keep
outside contaminants (remember that beach sand?) out, according
Gamma 2. The container's compact size, airtight lid and durable,
high-impact resistant plastic makes it ideal for traveling. The
Vittles Vault Jr. also has molded handles, making it easy to
transport and comes with a measuring cup that can be stored
within the container, making portioning meals while on the go
simple for pet parents.
The Acqua Böl allows pet owners to hydrate their pets anywhere, anytime, since the water bowl fits in a purse or pocket. The reusable bowl also has a two-year guarantee and is made of a latex impregnated, waterproof material.
Wow Bow, a company that describes itself as designers creating
clever products and intelligent solutions for dogs, offer a
credit card sized water bowl called Acqua Böl. The bowl
is described as convenient, reusable, durable, leak-proof
and stylish -- just like any set of luggage should be. The Acqua
Böl allows pet owners to hydrate their pets anywhere, anytime, since the water bowl fits in a purse or pocket. The reusable
bowl also has a two-year guarantee and is made of a latex
impregnated, waterproof material.
But even with the most easy-to-travel-with packaging, you
still need a product to put inside! One suggestion I have,
after reading multiple traveling with your pet online tips and
published guides, is to develop food and treats that make the
experience of travel more comfortable for pets. The
Humane Society of the United States
talks about motion sickness -- something pets are prone to
experience during the bumpy car ride or disorienting flight -- and its website suggests that ice cubes will keep animals
hydrated and calm and are gentler on the animals' stomach than
a large amount of water or a small meal. Bottled water products
for dogs, cats and small mammals have already been having
success in the market -- could canine and kitty flavored ice
cubes be the next niche?
How about that pet owner whose dream vacation involved
hiking and the outdoors? Maybe his tail-wagging travel
companion needs a granola or energy bar too! And what about the
pet parent who wants bright lights and the big city on their
trip? Why not market kitschy mini-fridge treats or help develop
a gourmet petfood menu for a pet-friendly hotel chain? By the
time you've finished brainstorming new ideas for products,
packaging and marketing for these to-go, travel-sized,
easy-carry petfoods and treats, you should have a very full
Water on the go
Watch a video to get to know Wow Bow's product the Acqua Böl a
little bit better.
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Read in-depth information on the latest and greatest in packaging, check out the research behind the innovations and peruse a photo gallery
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For more about sustainability in petfood, watch Jan Hoijtink's Petfood Forum 2010 PowerPoint, "Corporate social responsibility: from whim to a matter of strategy."
US trade data show petfood faring relatively
Learn about more companies and how they are lending a helping paw and claw to their own cause campaigns
Read more of Dr. Mukund Parthasarathy's insights on the changing petfood retail market and how it affects petfood manufacturers large and small
There's a disconnect between consumers' confidence in petfoods and their knowledge of what makes the foods nutritious
As an industry, are we missing a huge opportunity to take advantage of another aspect of the human-pet bond?
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