Recently, Weatherchem, a manufacturer and marketer of plastic closures and controlled access packaging, posed these questions to its database of packaging industry decision-makers: What makes a great package? And what are some of the most important criteria package designers use when thinking about their next great design? Design of the packaging closure itself was a top criterion, according to the survey. “Better closure design” received a 4.1 (out of 5.0) score as the top factor to influence choosing one packaging design over another. Manufacturers of petfood and treats want design that is functional, convenient and appealing to the consumer and their specific needs as a pet parent. Let's take a look at some of the new packaging products available that have revamped or created truly innovative design—packaging that makes real shelf-impact!

Currently, Weatherchem has several closures available for products within the pet industry. For pet owners, these closures offer convenience and freshness for the product inside the container. When on the go, pet owners never have to worry about spilling the products that they take along with their pets and the audible snap of Weatherchem closures ensures that the product inside is secure, says the company. "For petfood makers, Weatherchem caps also offer brand differentiation," says Aimee Weber, marketing communications manager. "The ability to stand out on the shelf attracts pet owners to their product. And, with color, embossing and decoration options, the caps can extend brand identity." The company's petfood-friendly flapper caps line includes the LiquiFlapper, NutraGen II, MegaFlap and VersaFlap.

Over the recent years, Peel Plastics has developed packaging solutions which have delivered significant value to both pet brand owners and, ultimately, end consumers, says the company. Peel’s patented Grab’n’Go side-gusset handle has been extremely well received, for example, and can be found on products across the pet category. "Amongst the many new innovations we are working on, we are most excited about introducing a new closure to the pet market," says Lance Alexander of Peel. "Peel Plastics has been working closely with a number of brand owners to launch the Velcro closure system Press-Loc." The Velcro closure offers an alternative to current closure options and an opportunity to address some of the frustrations consumers experience when trying to reseal a package, according to the company.

Laminate with hot foil stamping, matte surface and high-definition flexo print petfood packaging by Mondi Coatings & Consumer Packaging GmbH was recently honored by the DuPont packaging awards. The design features silver embossed 3D lettering and combines blind, flat or relief embossing on plastic laminate and high-quality, high-definition printed images with sharp outlines and colors to create a remarkable design. Mondi also offers the Hooded Top Slider and the Hermetic Closed Pinch Bottom Bag with print designs in high definition flexo to the petfood industry.

Mondi Kraft Paper, a division of Mondi, has also added a new paper grade, Advantage MG White Cote Print, to its flexible packaging portfolio. “Cote Print has ideal base paper properties owing to a totally new coating recipe and optimized calendering. As a multifunctional product, it is suitable for a variety of printing and converting processes,” explains Clemens Stockreiter, CEO Mondi Kraft Paper. The clay-coated surface of the paper ensures excellent printability—both flexographic and gravure printing are already being used, says the company. Since sustainability is one of Mondi’s key values, only bleached virgin kraft pulp from PEFC-certified suppliers is used in production and an FSC-certified quality is available on request.

Zipbox is a poly-coated paperboard carton incorporating an attached flexible film header containing a Zip-Pak Press-to-Close solution. Zipbox is designed to facilitate direct-filling of products without the need for an inner liner. By removing the liner, the package style can hold up to 40% more product, maximizing the product-to-package ratio and cube utilization to reduce transportation costs, says Zip-Pack. “In our consumer insight testing, Zipbox was recognized as an intuitive and easy-to-use package format for consumers of all ages,” explains Frank Kelly, business manager for Zipbox. The larger quantity is meant for multiple uses, making Zipbox the ideal package format to enhance consumer convenience through easy opening and reclosing. Zipbox also eliminates the need to use clips or transfer contents into a separate container, keeping marketing messages in front of the consumer through the last use.

Bravo!, manufacturers of frozen-fresh raw pet diet products, recently announced packaging changes for three of its product lines. Bravo! will now be vacuum-sealing the individual burgers in all of its Bravo! Blends and Bravo! Balance Raw Diet burger offerings. The new EZ-Peel packages replace the existing “loose fit” plastic overwrap. To open the burger, consumers will just have to find the marked edge and pull apart, says the company. According to David Bogner, Bravo’s co-founder and owner, the packaging change on the burgers comes in response to the federal and state governments looking to make the food supply safer and asking petfood manufacturers to be as vigilant as folks on the human side relative to all aspect of packaging and product distribution.

Both retailers and consumers will notice a few positive differences as a result of the vacuum-sealing process. One will be a slight color variation on the inside of the film, resulting from oxygen removal from the pouch. This is good indication that the freshness has been locked into the burger. Once opened, and the product begins to defrost, the burger will look redder than products in the older style package—another positive result of the new packaging process, says the company.

Videos: The latest packaging at Petfood Forum 2012

Go to and click on Petfood Industry TV to watch videos of innovative packaging at April 2012's Petfood Forum from Flex-Pack and Star Packaging.