Players in the sector have long been aware that the pet food market is growing. One of the key drivers of growth is the trend towards humanising pets. This means that pet owners pay particular attention to the quality of the food they give their four-legged family members. Sustainability also plays a bigger part. “The manufacturers of pet food are striving both to meet product requirements and to comply with environmental and government legislation regarding waste prevention,” says Eric Valette, director of Flexible BU Innovation at Coveris. Its new MonoFlex family comprising fully recyclable pouches and films is the company’s answer to this.
New target groups
Around 59 per cent of new pet owners belong to Generation Z and Millennials. They are aware of the environmental consequences of packaging waste, which is why they prefer to buy larger, recyclable packs. “In combination with the growth of e-commerce in Europe, this has led to demand for new pouch sizes and formats, which we have been able to satisfy,” says Eric Valette. Coveris offers a host of MonoFlex pouches ranging from one to 20 kilograms to meet this demand, including flat-bottom, quadroseal and stand-up pouches. It also supplies a number of reclosable systems such as top zip closure, top hook and loop closure and front or top bag zip fastener.
“One of the biggest challenges during the pandemic for the pet food market was improving product safety and hygiene,” says Nicolas Plantec, head of the pet food segment at Coveris. It was found that pet food brands are concentrating once more on innovative, environmentally friendly packaging solutions. His recommendation is therefore to switch to the polyethylene-based MonoFlex e-solution, a monomaterial structure that permits recycling in existing plastic flows.
In this context, Coveris is supporting the overall aim of the European Commission to make half of all plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. At group level, Coveris Re-Cover has therefore been introduced. This is a business segment that is responsible for mechanical recycling of plastic films. The Coveris Group is also involved, however, in a number of international initiatives for reducing plastic waste.
Focus on pet food
“We continue to concentrate on maintaining shelf life and making products more convenient for consumers while moving at the same time towards more sustainable packaging solutions,” says Nicolas Plantec.
Two product introductions are scheduled this year for different product categories. For dry pet food, which is Coveris’s core business, innovative paper bags have been developed that should be ready to hit the market by the end of 2023. With regard to moist pet food, however, Coveris is in the end phase of developing a sterilisable monomaterial pouch with a barrier function. “We are looking forward to introducing both innovations and to seeing how the market will react,” comments Eric Valette in summary.
At a glance
Coveris produces flexible packaging solutions for some of the world’s most reputable brands, manufacturing a broad portfolio of products for items from food to pet food, medical products to industrial and agricultural commodities. The company is structured into three divisions: films, flexibles and paper. It works with its customers on the continuous development of new, attractive and sustainable packaging. The Coveris Group is based in Vienna, Austria and has 29 plants in the EMEA region employing a total of 4 100 people.